I'm grateful for companies like Patagonia that have a high enough profit margin and large enough product volume, turnover and inventories to offer products at great clearance prices: Patagonia, TNF, Prana, GoLite, Westcomb, Icebreaker, Rab, Prana, among others.
Yes, the gear is hit or miss as far as its applicability to the needs of ultralighters, but if you're patient, you can typically wait 4 - 12 months and find almost any piece of gear at 50-70% off, making some of those "yuppie" brands an absolute steal.
With limited funds (like most people here), I'm looking for the best value, and I'm willing to be patient to get it. And often, that means that the best ultralight brands aren't in budget because they seldom go on sale and virtually never go on clearance -- the only discounts come from used gear in the FST forums, and even then gear from most cottage manufacturers still commands a premium.
Yes, there are pieces of gear that are exceptions... some things are inherently cheaper or so much higher quality in the cottage community that they maintain a value advantage, but for most clothes, packs, sleeping bags, etc. it's hard to do better than mainstream brands on clearance.
In my mind, one of the best gear values on a regular basis are the Stoic/Backcountry.com lines of gear offered by Back Country. They are that funny middle ground -- neither mainstream or cottage -- and most of their gear is mainstream quality, but frequently goes on deeper sales through SAC or DOG. It also escapes the stigma of wearing "yuppie" brands. I've gotten several pieces of their gear and have purchased even more as gifts, and have been incredibly happy with the quality, and from the looks of things, they've been slowly moving to producing lighter and lighter gear.