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9/21/12

Designer Collaborations

The latest and very much anticipated collaboration between designer and fast-fashion retailer is Anna Dello Russo, current editor for Vogue Nippon, designing an accessory line for Sweden's famed H&M.  The launch will take place October 4th online and in 140 select stores around the world.  H&M does not, however, sell to United States online, yet, so beware the stampedes at your local H&M on that particular Thursday. (Rumors have it, H&M will launch a US based e-commerce in 2013).
H&M is the second largest global clothing retailer, just behind Spain's Zara, who so far, does not seem to be a fan of designer collaborations.
H&M seems to be a repeat offender of sorts, when it comes to guest designers. They have been extremely successful with previous spots such as Stella McCartney, Jimmy Choo and Versace.
In the past, we have seen Target collaborate with such greats as Missonni and Jean Paul Gaultier.  The most recent, Jason Wu, created such a frenzy that the retailer increased store security as well as limited how many pieces each buyer could purchase. Not to mention, when Missonni launched on Target's website, the site crashed due to an unforeseen amount of traffic. Now, they have featured boutiques called 'The Shops' in which they feature a select number of pieces from a particular retailer to be sold  at Target locations and online. A wonderful new concept of retailing within retail and free advertising for the boutiques themselves. A major applaud to small businesses.
Along the lines of collaborations with particular designers, H&M, Macy's and Sak's Fifth Avenue teamed up with NBC's 'Fashion Star' which featured famed judges and moguls in the industry Michael Kors, Jessica Simpson and Nichole Richie.  The joint efforts of quick release production and the air day and taping of the show, the three retailers were able to churn out the selected winning pieces the next day in select store as well as online.  The pieces sold out weekly in the matter of hours throughout the duration of the shows season.  
The purpose and idea behind a collaboration in the first place is to drive sales to an irregular high for a short period of time. For the consumer, the practice allows us to purchase pieces from designers we might otherwise never be able to afford.  It seems as though there is a mutual win between retailer and consumer, however, there is a catch.  Some retailers and designers see is as the modern day version of "selling out" much like the practice of licensing was a few decades ago.  So in lies the question, is it more important to be adored by your followers or your peers?

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