It’s 6:45am and I awake to the high pitch tone of my mobile ringing in my ear. I reluctantly get out of bed, switch on the modem, grab my mac and then return to the warmth under my duvet. Bleary eyed I attempt to navigate my way to the H&M website, filled with excitement. You see, at 7:00am they release their new collaboration with Lanvin and I’m going to grab me a new luscious blazer and shiny pair of shoes. But it didn’t work out like that, instead H&M’s website failed. It teased me to the point of allowing the digital cloth to grace my shopping basket only to reject my registration when I attempted to part with my digital pennies. I was super annoyed at the time but on reflection I calmed down a little, I could make do with out.
I decided to write this post after V, from Grit&Glamour, tweeted that she hopes the new year brings collaborations that aren’t too good to be true. That don’t over promise, then fail when it comes to quality of product. But I take V’s hope one step further and say I’ve had enough already.
Maybe the story above left a bitter taste in my mouth? Maybe you’re right?
But just maybe… these collaborations have run their course and when you take a step back from all the smoke and mirrors you realise that they’re not that great after all. I mean, when I look at the quality of my Commes Des Garçons x H&M shirt, the quality’s no different to H&M’s regular clothes. It’s not better because it bares the Commes Des Garçons name on the label, but I ‘get‘ the allure.
After all, the sharp eyed amongst you will notice that the shirt bares the buttons on the wrong side for a gent. I admit, I was a lot younger and naive when I bought this. I was so enticed by the prospect of owning a ‘piece’ that I sacrificed the fit and bought the only thing they had left to offer; a woman’s shirt. You don’t need a biology degree to realise a woman has breasts and a man does not. So the shirt is only wearable underneath a jumper, yet I’ve clung onto it for the last 4 years!
Why? Because I ‘get‘ the allure.
Those that covet the designer collabs are probably screaming “but you’re paying for the design“. I see what you’re saying, those polka dots are beautifully formed, so beautiful in fact over the last 4 years I’ve yet to find a polka dot that rivals this shirts ‘dottyness’. They’re usually too small or teamed with a collar that’s just not as playful as the one on this shirt. I ‘get‘ the allure.
Regular browsers of my Facebook page may have noticed an article I recently posted about the rise in people in the US buying ‘knock-off’ designer goods. More than half admitted to buying knock-offs because they couldn’t afford the real thing. Is this what it comes down to when investing in these collaborations, price?
Are we sacrificing quality in order to get clothing designed by our favourite fashion houses, even if it goes against everything that fashion house stands for?
Take the latest H&M collaboration with Maison Margiela? The original Margiela brand stood against the brand worship that we see in these collaborations. Margiela himself left the company in 2009 after it had originally been sold to the OTB group in 2002. He was known for shying away from the media spotlight, yet it’s ironic that such a collaboration with all its media whirlwind were to come about in 2012.
Personally, I didn’t care for the menswear from that collection. I’ve realised now that rather than jump on each collection and buy poor quality clothes for inflated prices. It’s much more worthwhile to save up and buy the real thing. I was prepared to splash out almost half the price of a real Lanvin blazer on an inferior one and a pair of shoes. If I had been a bit more patient, done a little research and I could have got the real thing for a similar price in the sale or saved a little more and owned the genuine article. That would have lasted me longer.
The same could be said of the Commes Des Garçons shirt, I probably spent £40 on it. Had I saved the money and not got caught up in the hype, I could have the real thing that fits me properly sitting in my wardrobe, instead of a shirt that’s waiting for me to sprout a pair of breasts…
But… I ‘get ’ the allure.
I’d love to hear about your feelings around designer collaborations. Maybe you love them? Or if you can’t stand them? Let me know what pieces you own and how they work out for you. Anything designer collab related, I’d love to hear about.
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