Hi everyone. I hope you're all doing great, I'm back again: New Year, new concept and new post. It took me some time to figure out what exactly I wanted to do with my blog, so I actually had to relaunch it. As one of my goals this year, I will do my absolute best to update my blog more frequently. So on to my first blog post, which is actually a feature I just over the Christmas. I've always been interested in designer and high street retailer collaborations so I thought, why not research it more and write a feature about it, now that I had a chance.Collaborations are frequently seen in the fashion industry, whether it’s between designers alone or retailers and designers, but the question here is whether or not these collaborations are purely fashion related or just a good marketing strategy?
American fashion designer Alexander Wang launched his sports themed collection last month in collaboration with H&M. After their recent collaboration with French designer Isabel Marant the Swedish company took another turn for this year’s designer collaboration.
Inspired by autumn colours and Wang’s sporty style, the collection seemed quite different from what H&M normally does.
According to Press and Communication Assistant Claire Wakeman from H&M, the brand always seeks to collaborate with significant and relevant designers.
She said, “With each designer collaboration, H&M wants to capture the true DNA of the designer.”
Admittedly, the Wang x H&M pieces sold out the same day it was launched, and most importantly, the collection brought a whole new look to H&M. It even had costumers queuing several hours just to have a feel of the collection.
The brand has since 2004 worked with designers such as Karl Lagerfeld, Roberto Cavalli and Stella McCartney, however mixing high street fashion with designer collaborations can sometimes become a dangerous affair. Furthermore, this has not always been a successful aspect for the Swedish brand, according to a research done by EDITD, it is proven that the Maison Martin Margiela x H&M collaboration wasn’t quite a hit amongst the consumers. After the collection being launched in November 2012, it was shown that 22 pieces were reduced more than 50% of it’s original price without it even being put under the sales category.
Even though there is always a risk behind these collaborations, it is still an on-going annual event for the high street shop.
20-year-old H&M employee and student, Joana Akoto found the launch itself to be very disappointing, because of the items being sold so quickly. But also because of the prices, which according to her were incredibly high compared to the brand’s usual price range, as a pair of leather joggers are £179.
“I got to the store around 10:30 am and everything was pretty much sold out, there were only a few pair of jeans, jackets and shoes left, but the items I was looking for were all gone. So after looking in different departments and some of the fitting rooms I concluded that there was not much to do than just to head home. On my way out, I actually did find an item that was on my list, just randomly hanging in the men’s department,” she says.
It’s arguable though, if the collection really was worth all the hype or if costumers saw the collaboration as an opportunity to invest in designer wear for a reasonable price.
Admittedly, 20-year old Akoto had not seen much of his previous work. “I have not seen much of his previous collections, but I really like the few ones that I have seen. I think it’s because he is very minimalistic and that’s more my style,” she said.
Looking at the collection and Wang’s sort of minimalistic style, it’s no surprise that this must have been a risky team up for H&M to do, as they’re known for their rather diverse clothing. However, it’s a situation where fashion designers get a chance to aim at and also create a different target group than their usual. Which is also another reason why H&M chose Alexander Wang. “His fashion-forward tailoring with a sense of ease perfectly corresponds to H&M this autumn,” said Wakeman about the American designer.
This sense of ease is also recognised by 20-year old Akoto, who thinks that the American designer was just the right designer for H&M this year. The 20-year old H&M employee said, “I loved it. I think it was unique, very his style with the dark colours. I loved the material and the small details on them. My favourite item has to be the sweatshirts, which complements my muscular arms so well.”
“The good side of H&M x Wang was the fact that it became a huge success. People waited for hours to get in on the launching day and most of the items were sold out within a few ours,” said 20-year old Akoto.
Although Wang is known for designing street wear, this was his first time actually making sportswear so the collection was just as important for him as it was for H&M as Wakeman stated, “the collection is full of experimental and cutting-edge techniques, such as laser-cutting, embossing, foam-injecting and bonding.”
While this particular collaboration was a risky one on both sides, it was proven to be a success and is also considered a good marketing strategy, which is one of the key aspects of designer collaborations.
I hope it was a good read.
Until next time,