ILL-FITS: Are “Fast Fashion” Collaborations Bad for the Fashion Industry?
As Hypebeast’s readership continues to grow, so does the size of our inbox. From props and complaints, to linesheets, aspiring brands and PR companies, we are constantly getting hit up by many of our loyal readers for various reasons. We’re making a conscious effort to respond to all of you guys and with the help of our contributing editor and native New Yorker, Robert Marshall, we’re creating a new Op-Ed installment titled, “ILL-FITS.” Primarily intended to answer the messages from all of you style advice seekers, Robert Marshall will tackle one of your questions and we’ll post it up here for you to contribute to the discussion.
As a struggling student who shamefully spends much of his time perusing Hypebeast salivating for garbs my wallet inversely cries over, my wallet and I look forward to seeing haute couture designers team with affordable retail outlets for limited edition collections. I notice however, not everyone I come in contact with shares the same affinity. Why is that? Are these “fast fashion”collabos really that bad for the fashion world?
First and foremost, my best regards go out to you and your wallet. I can only hope that your studies eventually land you in a position to purchase all the luxe goods your wallet so desires. C.R.E.A.M. aside, let’s examine your query. The recent surge in guest designer collaborations, specifically with longstanding department stores or “fast-fashion” clothing companies, has fueled a heated debate among purists and progressive style aficionados alike. Since the day Karl Lagerfeld decided to jump into an all-white bed with Swedish label H&M the defining style characteristics of the privileged has been muddled with that of the commoner, blurring the line between luxury fashion and those who actually live it. Having tackled this matter previously in a Polls feature asking readers their thought of these collaborations we witnessed an overwhelming majority select “Depends on the project.” And I can cosign that notion as these paradoxical associations of high- and low-end fashion labels provide a refreshing avenue for expanding markets, building brand awareness, advancing the maturity levels of young consumers, revitalizing older brands and stacking big faces. Can you dig it?
Now the naysayers to these lucrative partnerships find it down right disrespectful and detrimental to ones image to wear what they position as stripped-down, ready-to-wear, fugazi designs of past collections with cheaper materials and lost aesthetics. It’s on par with Basquiat and Haring running around the streets of New York creating bespoke artwork for whomever. It robs the allure of owning a commissioned piece. Additionally, these self-proclaimed purists have this preconceived notion that mass retail patrons have no appreciation, nor knowledge for that matter, for luxury apparel and are purchasing solely on hype rather than a more dignified criteria. And adding yet another splice of hate, these traditionalists have conjured up some animosity towards the designer labels outchea whoring off brand equity and renowned exclusivity in an effort to reposition themselves among fresher, avant-garde runway arrangements.
To these Buck Nasty’s of fashion I say, ‘Cool it breh, you’re swag level is not affected by our peon wardrobe decisions.’ And word to the wise, another’s doings should not dictate your opinions, let alone style. If anything our steez is under review for standing in line, making the purchase and proudly sporting our newly acquired attire just moments later. To the pro-collaborators like myself who live off tumblr reblogs, these synergetic tag teams are more illustrious than Hulk Hogan and Macho Man aligning for SummerSlam ’88. And as for the participating haute couture labels, their names are no less tainted than LeBron James for fabricating a superpower in Miami. What matters is the implementation. Was it all done with class, presented with an air of effort and exclusivity whilst enticing uncharted demographics, similar to that of a designer’s diffusion line? If the answer is yes, than can we really player hate either clothier for trying to innovate, revitalize and maybe start a mini riot at your local mall? On our polls feature, I think user David Cop-A-Feel put it perfectly by commenting, “A great product will stand on its own and [will] not depend on other products in the line or by the designer to justify price. Toyota makes Lexus and some of their models look exactly the same but guess what? People still buy BOTH because they know the difference in quality of materials used.”
So for all the couture wearers out there feeding off the hate for their wardrobe then spitting it right back to the youngin’s just trying to compete with collabo reiterations, just stay based and let that boy cook!