Traditionally, fashion was associated only with big name designers like Prada, Ghesquiere, Lanvin or Yves St. Laurent. Each season they would dictate what the masses would wear the next season, but it would often take quite some time for these new trends to trickle their way down to the department stores at a price level the average person could afford. H&M, Target and Kohl’s weren’t exactly going to be found on the cover of InStyle or Vogue.
Recently, however, the tide has turned and big name designers are all collaborating with these chain stores to create limited edition lines at fairly modest prices (compared to their runway counterparts, anyway). Behnaz Sarafpour, Vera Wang, Stella McCartney and Luella have all collaborated with big chain stores to great success. But despite the ease with which anyone can purchase a sweater from any of these designers collections, obtaining an item from their collaborations can be a different story entirely.
Take, for example, the recent Roberto Cavalli collaboration with H&M. In this video, you can see girls that have camped outside overnight to get a spot in line at the store. When the doors opened, it was the equivalent of a stampede. I wouldn’t be surprised if blood was shed over the leopard trench. Although covetable, no animals were harmed in the making of the coat and in my book that means that people shouldn’t be harmed while trying to buy it. One girl showcased her collection of shopping bags and admitted to having spent over $6000 dollars US. Now, even if she had purchased one of each item, there is no way she could have rung up a $6000 charge.
So, what is she going to do with the rest? Sell them on ebay, at no doubt what will be an obscene markup? Doesn’t this then defeat the purpose of â€˜design for the masses’? Shopping can already be traumatic enough (I refer to my brief flirtation with skinny jeans, which I have sadly determined are not for my body type), and it seems absurd to declare war on your fellow shoppers in pursuit of an article of clothing.
I have coveted a bag or a dress so much that I have made irrational financial decisions, but fashion, for me, has never been about competition (in pursuit of a garment or otherwise). It’s about what makes me feel good, and when this much hype is set up in pursuit of a particular piece of clothing disappointment is bound to follow. Sure, it’s fun to own something that isn’t widely available, but this is why we have vintage shops and tiny boutiques.
The mantra of all of these bargain-fashion shops has been to make trends accessible to everyone, and to then release a limited edition collection seems quite hypocritical. They should instead up the production of each line and truly support their ideologyâ€”the demand is clearly there.