NEW YORK — Competition for the contemporary customer’s dollars is bubbling, as makers struggle with strategies to beat cheap-and-chic invaders in the New Year.

It’s the threat of fast-paced, trend-driven stores like H&M and Forever 21 making their way into shopping malls across the country that’s causing the angst. Contemporary designers provide fashion-forward merchandise month after month, but the clothes from such brands as Tracy Reese and Rebecca Taylor are more expensive than what is sold at H&M.

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