From The Runway To Your Closet: The Collaboration Trend In Fashion
Designer and discounter collaborations have revolutionized the fashion industry by creating affordable clothing lines, which are accessible to the general public. While Missoni attire could typically cost upwards of $800, shoppers had the opportunity to purchase “Missoni for Target” products for an average of $60, including clothes, home décor, accessories and a wildly popular bike with Missoni’s famed zig-zag print. Granted, the opportunity was short-lived, as the merchandise sold-out almost instantly. Subsequently, the most coveted pieces appeared on eBay for drastically heightened prices.
Target has announced the most recent agreement with Jason Wu, a New York-based designer who gained considerate recognition when Michelle Obama began wearing his designs in 2008. The limited-edition collection will be available in February, but the real question is whether or not he will manage to crash Target’s website.
Shockingly, the biggest claim to fame within the fashion industry these days is a crashed website due to outrageously high demand. Target’s website crashed by 7:47 a.m. when the Missoni line debuted, and a similar situation occurred for the launch of Alex Chung’s clothing line for Madewell on Sept. 22.
The high-demand for collaboration collections has yet to dwindle. Anticipation has steadily intensified for “The Very Best of Versace for H&M,” which will be available in stores on Nov. 17. The line pays tribute to the ’80s and to Gianni Versace, Donatella Versace’s brother.
Although the Italian label has generated an undeniable amount of attention and publicity for H&M, Versace is not the first major fashion house to sign with the Swedish clothing store. Past partnerships, which have all attracted throngs of fervent shoppers, have included Lanvin, Comme des Garçons, Roberto Cavalli, Viktor & Rolf, Stella McCartney and Karl Lagerfeld.
In fact, Lagerfeld continues to support the abiding trend of designer/discount collaboration lines, as he launched a line for Macy’s “Impulse” on Aug. 31. His 45-piece collection, which ranges from $50 to $170, features everything from floral dresses to t-shirts, and from tweed to faux leather.
“To me Macy’s is the perfect department store in the U.S. where everybody can find what they’re looking for without ruining their budget,” said Lagerfeld in a release, according to Fashionista.com.
Duly noted. However, is more affordable apparel the actual motive that propels designers and celebrities to affiliate themselves with retail-clothing stores?
The inexpensive, oftentimes stunning collections have transfigured and modernized the fashion industry entirely. The fashion opinion-makers and designers of the world’s most prominent fashion houses have humanized themselves by creating clothing that is accessible to more people than just the wealthiest of shoppers on Rodeo Drive. Designers are stepping out of the restrictive confines of high fashion by declaring loud and clear that fashion is truly for the people.
Yet how far should designers push their “extracurricular” projects before the value of their work becomes devalued? Designers appear to accept any request that comes their way without hesitation, no matter how vastly different the company is from their own realm of fashion. For Starbucks’ 40th anniversary, Alexander Wang designed t-shirts that appeared as though the shirt-wearers unintentionally spilled their Venti black coffee on themselves en route to work. The Alexander Wang and Starbucks partnership was unfitting and forced, largely due to their lack of connection.
Fashion is an expressive art form that is intended to inspire both the wearer and the viewer. Luxury lines have earned their unfeasible prestige from utilizing the highest quality materials, the finest fabrics, the meticulous care to detail and above all, the audacity to push social boundaries. Shoppers need to understand that the $80 dresses that they purchase (or $650 engagement rings designed by Vera Wang for Zales for that matter) are valued solely on the designer name stitched or engraved into the label, not for the quality of the products.
Although it is safe to presume that the average, female college student will not hastily oppose the continuation of affordable clothing collections, the fashion industry must be wary of losing its stature and artistic quality. Not all designs are meant to hurdle from the runway to the closet of a dorm room.
Reach writer Chloe Gaffney here
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