*Caution: Author of this article is most definitely biased because she happens to be obsessed with Alexander Wang and his seemingly endless pit of talent.*
Alexander Wang, since leaving Parson’s in 2005, has developed a name brand which is practically synonymous with New York City and sportswear. This label, with it’s growth and increasing popularity, has become a widely recognized brand, and is now expanding to collaborate with H&M and spread the Alexander Wang name down to the masses.
From the photos Instagrammed in the months leading up to it’s release on November 6th, there was a smattering of clearly sports-inspired silhouettes. Of course, each had their own crucial details that identified them as part of the Alexander Wang x H&M collection, whether it be the gray/black color scheme, the bold WANG letters, or the inventive shapes.
While I do love Alexander Wang, I’m not going to lie; this collection disappointed me. There were a few pieces that I would die for, such as the Fitted Dress and the Crocodile Textured Top, and I thought that the silhouettes were very indicative of Wang’s usual aesthetic. Overall, I felt that the marketing department took a bigger role in the design of the collection, and thus it had a very different feel to it. I know that I’m writing this as an idealist, but I wish that the collection had been focused on the designs and the quality of the clothing itself and not who the designer is. I’ve found that a lot of designer collaborations with chain stores focus on over-branding the clothing. When they do this, they assure that the people who buy it solely for the designer label will, in fact, buy most of the collection. After looking through the whole collection, it seems that Wang and H&M made those people their target demographic. That being said, I do appreciate the fact that Wang designed and entirely original collection for this collaboration when it would’ve been easier, and most likely just as profitable, to use old graphic designs and styles from seasons past that were hits, such as the Parental Advisory logo and the barcodes.
Going in, the only other concern that crossed my mind was the possibility of bad quality materials. In past designer collaborations, H&M has skimped out on the fabrics to keep the prices down (or to create a larger profit margin). Unfortunately, my concerns were reversed once the collection was available for full preview online, and the prices were released. It seemed that my original concerns were quite different from the reality of the situation, and that the fabric was full quality, but the price range was generally above H&M standards. Where did the $24.99 sweaters go? While I do concede that the tee shirts and such were in a reasonable range, I was disappointed that the dresses, jackets and thicker sweaters were all over $100. The reality of the matter is that H&M caters to a demographic that usually cannot afford Alexander Wang pricing, which is why the higher prices are discouraging. If I can’t afford Alexander Wang, how am I expected to be able to afford a $349 Alexander Wang x H&M jacket? These price levels on some of the items do concern me, but the prices seem relatively accurate when you add up the material, seemingly good quality of the items and the name attached.
In Miami, I checked out the collection in stores on November 6th along with many other people. As I’m sure you are aware, the collection was entirely sold out online during that day. I’m still holding out hope that my Fitted Dress (that I never ordered) will magically appear at my door step by way of the fashion gods.