Lanvin, Karl Lagerfeld, Versace, Jimmy Choo and soon Isabel Marant! What do all these designers have in common? They represent just a few who have paired with the Swedish brand Hennes & Mauritz, better known as H&M, to create a highly exclusive capsule collection. The designers represent the crème de la crème of high fashion that offer their designs each November in a select 250 stores. Each collection offers a one of a kind selection of clothing, shoes and accessories for both men and women.
In 2004 H&M initiated these collaborations unveiling an exclusive collection by Karl Lagerfeld. Subsequent years have featured Stella McCartney, Viktor& Rolf, Roberto Cavalli, Comme des Garcons and others. H&M differentiated themselves from the fast fashion market through these guest collections, gaining popularity with fashion and price conscious consumers by providing them with an opportunity to access high fashion. Each collection offers pieces ranging from $30 to $400.
Now, let me explain to you how this collection comes to fruition: H&M officially announces the designers every June, putting to rest the yearly rumors of whom the next designer will be. However, the buzz doesn’t stop here. Each month, leading to the release in November, photos are leaked and predictions are made. By November, H&M finally releases a comprehensive guide to the collection including photos, price points, advertisements and how to shop the collection in stores.
Finally the collection is released at 9 am on a Saturday in November and bang it is an all-out war!
I am not kidding! Customers are fighting each other, running through the stores, taking no prisoners, as they try and get their hands on the most coveted pieces. Almost every year the collection sells out in hours. After that, your only option is to forage through pages of eBay and pay a small fortune for an item. Hence the feeding frenzy when the collection is released.
You may be asking yourself: who cares enough to actually do this? Everyone is offering these collaborations, so really what is the big deal? Well, I like to think of myself as the “know it all” of all of the collaboration collections (or the queen if you will). I research as much as possible before I shop such events, and in my opinion, H&M designer collaborations are truly the best. Why? Because they do not sacrifice quality to keep the prices low. Instead, they offer “moderately” affordable clothing.
Journalists have constantly argued that such collections are too expensive, how can a $200 dress be affordable? While the collections are not cheap –they offer a contemporary alternative to high end prices. For instance, Jimmy Choo heels usually run for a $1000, but a Jimmy Choo H&M pair retailed at $125 offering an almost identical design! Expensive? Yes! But, reasonable? I THINK SO!
As you have figured out I am “one of those” who will wait in line to shop such events. So if you want to learn more about my crazy adventure stay tuned for my next post on H&M Designer Collaborations!