Do High-Low Fashion Collaborations Decrease Quality & Creativity?

Today Refinery 29 showcased the “leaked” looks resulting from Lanvin’s collaboration with H&M. The pieces are dark with subtle intricacies that may remain unique and unidentifiable by brand to the unexposed eye. With this passing slightly as an exception, I’ve been asking myself: Are high-low designer collaborations pointless because they’re so popularized that everyone knows what you’re wearing, where you bought it, and can buy exactly the same thing?

Lanvin for H&M Fall 2010 Campaign
Lanvin for H&M Fall 2010 Campaign

For argument’s sake, imagine arriving at your favorite MPD (Meat Packing District) club flaunting the one-shouldered pouf frock all the way to the left. You’re excited that you finally have the chance to own a piece of haute couture by French fashion house, Lanvin, without having to make a drastic move to your parent’s rent-controlled apartment. Beyond the velvet rope, the usually 100+ line starts forming. Then your heart rushes as, at the very least, one girl from each gaggle of blondes sports a similar dress with coincidentally similar sky-high heels. The footwear also bears a striking resemblance to last year’s Jimmy Choo for H&M collection, A.K.A. the exact same shoes you waited 3 hours in line to get. Only she probably bought them on Ebay.

You then realize, that yes, the dress is indeed the exact same one you were so proud to own. Also, more than 1/3 of the girls on the line are wearing the exact same outfit, as well as the attitude of the full-price label. Then your posture seems to loosen, and you have the sudden urge to rip off the adjacent side to create a strapless original.

We know this fashion faux-pas doesn’t carry the same image-damaging magnitude of donning a verbatim dress on the red carpet. But it does feel akin to a “Bitch Stole My Look” moment via Joan Rivers + Fashion Police. It also raises one of many questions considering mass-production, originality and brand reputation in fashion.

How do you feel when you see someone that wears the same outfit which resulted from a “discount” collaboration line?

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