Do We Really Need Another Designer Collaboration?
By my recollection, it all started with Target’s International Flights of Fashion. Then came Stella McCartney for Adidas.
Apres moi, le deluge.
Now, not a week goes by that the fashion crowd doesn’t get its harem pants in a twist over the latest designer to slum it at a big box discount or department store. Lagerfeld for H&M! Missoni for Target! Trina Turk for Banana Republic! Calvin Klein for Macy’s! Even the thought of completely unknown shoe designers doing a capsule collection for middlebrow mall store Aldo sets off a frenzy.
Can we just say “Enough already”? The latest collaboration, between French designer Sophie Theallet and The Limited, is already being spoken of with breathless anticipation, despite the fact that no one knows who the heck Theallet is or where there is even a Limited store anymore.
Seriously. (Have you seen a Limited store since 1996? I haven’t.)
The idea behind the collabs is an admirable one—juice up a mass-market retailer with a little designer panache and introduce new potential customers to a designer’s work—but the end result always leaves us disappointed. No matter how cute the clothes are, they’re not made as well as the originals, which is why customers love the designer in the first place. My closetful of ill-fitting Target designer collab garments will testify to the fact that just because the label says Paul & Joe, Rogan, or Erin Fetherston, they don’t fit any better than Mossimo.
That’s assuming you can even get the garments, of course. The Missoni for Target collection was notorious for selling out in seconds, with many purchasers sweeping in at the crack of dawn to clear out entire stores at once, then re-listing the wares on eBay for quadruple the retail price. For as much hassle as it took to get ahold of a Missoni bike, it would have been easier to fly Margherita Missoni herself to your house to bedazzle it in person.
The craze for these collections only proves two things: that we’ve all been expertly trained by the media to salivate over anything with a designer label, and that we’re all broke. Even broker once we’ve indulged in these entry-level designer collections, since research shows that people who purchase a lower-priced item from a designer will eventually want the real thing.
Let’s call a moratorium on any more silly “collaborations,” whether it’s John Galliano for Kmart, Jacobim Mugatu for a Taco Truck, or Your Mom for Casual Male. Aren’t we pretty much out of uncollaborated-with designers, anyway?