October 26, 2013

Designer Collaborations Are Not Doing a Disservice To THIS Consumer

As per usual, it's 8:51pm, I'm sitting on the sofa (watching DVR'd Project Runway All Stars) and reading fashion blogs, articles, & working on my stuff. The fact that it's also Friday night speaks to exactly where I am in my life...3 kids upstairs...asleep (or getting there), and feeling perfectly at peace & happy in this overall boring quietness.
//image via Fashionista.com//
Back to the topic at hand. I just read a fantastic piece on Fashionista.com by Alissa Vingan questioning whether all of these designer collaborations are fair to both the high-end & well, low-end consumer. 

I've paid attention to these collaborations for years, and while I haven't purchased much of it, I do have some much-loved items in my closet from some of them (naturally, Fashionista  also wrote a piece on the "top 20" designer collaborations as well.)
The first I remember paying attention to was Isaac Mizrahi x Target, when in 2003-ish I was so obsessed with finding the pink blazer I literally drove to Targets all over the Salt Lake City area while on a business trip. Incidentally, I never did get one.
Other designer collaborations that have caught my eye:
H&M // Maison Martin Margiela, & I wrote about the upcoming Isabel Marant recently
Target // Missoni, Harajuku Mini (which turned into a brand partnership), Kirna Zabete, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Prabal Gurung, & that huge Neiman Marcus brands collab last fall 
Kohls // Catherine Malandrino (love this dress!)
J.Crew // Fenton-Fallon jewelry (the start of the spike craze for the rest of us)

Here's the question presented in Alissa Vingan's article...Is it fair for designers to (re)produce such similar material from their runway looks for the mainline store collaborations? Fair to the high-end customer buying the "original"? Fair to the everyday lady getting her slice of designer for sooooo much less? Do you care? 

I have an answer & am going to speak for you (if I may be so bold)...because I feel that if you're reading my blog you probably have a similar aesthetic, mindset, or budget as I do.

No, we (generally the collaboration buyer, not the high-end buyer) don't care. In fact, maybe it's a little better that the collab pieces are so similar, because they look so... designer. They're not only noticeable, but limited, & therefore generally coveted. The best part though is the fact that we (the collaboration buyer) get something that is actually designer (and new) at a price point we can afford.

For example, anyone who follows fashion knows what a  Mini Pashli looks like. It's similar, but not the same by any means as the Target version. I love that the little $35 bag I have looks enough like the original to be mistaken for it, but different enough to not look like a designer knock-off. I also love that some fashionistas I follow have both bags in different sizes. Based on that fact alone, it makes me think many who can afford the real deal have appreciation for the value of the latter.

In addition, it might be possible that if you carry an $1100 bag, you like people to notice that you're carrying an $1100 bag. These designer collaborations bring the masses up to speed real quickly on who these designers are & what they do. It brings notice to not only the collaboration, but to the original designer's work. 

Therefore, my take (as an H&M, Target-shopping everygirl) is bring them on! Designer collaborations with brands I'm able to afford really gives us fashion lovers the opportunity to eat up a slice of the designer pie, without spending all the bacon in one place.

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