Fashion collaboration: the good, the bad and the overpriced


Once upon a time, whenever the “…X…” or “…for…” phrases came up, a big hype would be created. Yes, there used to be such a time. Entering 2011, probably every label you can think of has engaged in some sort of collaboration. With the overload of crossing over, the excitement brought about by these projects have undeniably fallen off and lost its allure by now. Still, certain remain to have everyone go crazy, and that, ladies and gentlemen, is the “high-end X low-end” collaboration.

Who doesn’t love getting “authentic” designer items at a fraction of the original price. Especially for some of us college students who do care about something more than Abercrombie when it comes down to fashion, but have not the ability to afford $300 jeans.

When the Lanvin for H&M collection first came out last year, it had the whole fashion industry buzzing. Predictably, the entire line flew off the shelves in a matter of hours, while merchandise from the collection were sold on Ebay for triple the original price.

Many who were not able to line up outside the store a night in advance or pay the high price were left empty handed. Just when they finally decide to give in to the ugly truth that fashion is not for the poor, H&M announced some “good” news.

A capsule collection named “Waste” which is made from the left over fabric from the Lanvin for H&M collection is NOW selling in selected stores. Designed by not Alber Elbaz (creative director of Lanvin) but H&M’s own designers, the collection includes sportswear and accessories.

As sensible as it may seem, considering the huge enthusiasm of customers, isn’t the whole idea a tad irrational? Most people who shop at H&M couldn’t care less about the quality of clothes they get. The only thing that matters to them is whether the clothes are on trend. Off season clothes from H&M is practically no better than table clothes. If it wasn’t for the “Lanvin” name, who’d want clothes made from scrap fabric that came from last season? (If you have ever looked at the pieces from “Waste,” you’d have a more profound understanding.)

As ironic as it seems, a lot of people actually splurge the same amount or more on these diffusion lines as they’d have on the real extravagance. A shopper allegedly spent $3000 on the Lanvin for H&M collection. Even for a label big and expensive like that, that amount of money still buys you much more than a pair of socks and some random plain colored shirts.

Collab is collab, it may be good for its price, but do you really think a Mulberry for Target bag is just as good as that Alexa bag lying in the actual Mulberry store? Don’t live in your fantasy anymore, it’s about time to pop that bubble.

Some argue these crossover collections are still worth everything because of their exclusivity. True those may not be hanging around for long, but exclusivity, really? When the price of the clothes get cut from $20K to a “mere” $200 (which is still a long way from the Forever 21 price range average college students with shoestring budgets), exclusivity has long been gone. No kidding.

However much we’d like to convince ourselves putting on a wig can make you an entirely different person, we all know that “best of both worlds” does not exist in reality. It never did, and as reluctant as we would like to admit, probably never will.