Designers have been collaborating with high street retailers for the last ten years, feeding our love of mass production. Just last week H&M announced a new collaboration between themselves and the Editor of Japanese Vogue. The love affair between designers and the mass market began ten years ago with American retailer, Target. Ever since then, the fashion scene has just exploded with a new collaboration being announced each month. This raises the question as to what these collaborations do to the integrity of the designer brand.

Designers pride themselves on producing high quality items, only available to a select few. The care and attention to detail that goes into these items is unrivalled by anything produced from a mass market retailer. Instead of throwaway fashion, designers aim to produce luxury items that will stand the test of time and become heirlooms for future generations. This being said, however, by collaborating with a mass retailer, they are going against all their principles and values in the hope of making their label more accessible to the general public. Looking at a few designer-high street collaborations from the past, such as H&M’s infamous collaboration with Versace, the sacrifice to put quantity over quality proved to be a detrimental decision for the brand resulting in bad press and the loss of dedicated followers.

This loss of credibility can never be reversed, however, there are some designer-high street collaborations that have worked favourable for both designer and retailer. Mary Katrantzou’s iconic printed dresses are high up on the wish list of any hardcore fashionista however the high prices of the dresses only make them available for models and celebrities. By collaborating with Topshop to produce a capsule collection of Mary Katrantzou designed items, dreams became reality for girls across the country. The Topshop dresses, priced at £350 were obviously not the standard of Mary’s mainline collection however they also did not resemble the cheaply made fashion that lines the shelves throughout the rest of the store. Mary carefully crafted this balance between unaffordable and attainable luxury allowing the collaboration to be a complete success. Mary’s collaborations with Topshop have proven to be so successful that she has now collaborated with the store three times along with the luxury, luggage company Longchamp.

This success story is just one of many relating to designer collaborations, however, these successes have not occurred through collaborations with the high street. More and more, designers are collaborating with each other to produce one off collections throughout this year resulting in a cross promotion for everyone involved. One collaboration that has caused a wave of excitement to flood the fashion industry is the collaboration between designers, Peter Pillotto and Lisa Marie Fernandez. Their collaboration is a match made in heaven incorporating Lisa Marie’s scuba inspired swimwear with the design due’s love of prints.

With so many designers looking for a quick moment of worldwide fame, it is so easy to loose sight of the brand’s ethos. Maybe this is not important to today’s consumers? With society’s ‘wear it once’ mentality, the concept of ethos becomes highly uninteresting to people only out to find a nice outfit. Linking back to our brand ethos and the importance of finding stories behind the seams of your clothes, we have compiled a selection of collaborations that are designed to stand the test of time.

Jeremy Scott collaboration with Longchamp

Getting into the holiday spirit, Jeremy Scott is sending you a summer postcard from paradise in the form of this gorgeous Longchamp bag.

Jean Paul Gaultier with La Perla

Sadly there are no cone shaped bras in this collection but you can expect Gaultier’s statement, bold lines and sexy figure hugging designs to feature heavily.

Yayoi Kasuma and Louis Vuitton

Being scouted by Marc Jacobs, Yayoi Kusama has produced a spot-tastic range of goodies for Louis Vuitton, ranging from leather goods and ready to wear. We spot a sell out!

Grace Molan


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