Another Overrated H&M Collaboration

H&M, Versace, fashion collaborations

I’ve been debating on whether to comment on the Versace for H&M collection, since it isn’t something that interests me, and I find it to be completely overhyped. So I wasn’t going to say anything, until I read this article on Business of Fashion this morning. It talks about the timing of the fashion calendar, and a bit about the big fashion show H&M put on in New York to launch the collection:

“When the [Prince] concert eventually concluded at 15 minutes past midnight, the walls opened up once more to reveal a fully-stocked Versace for H&M pop-up store, which created pandemonium unlike anything I have ever seen, and this, even amongst the fashion elite who have access to almost any kind of fashion they want. As we waited in the crush to enter the store, someone asked American Vogue’s Hamish Bowles why he was subjecting himself to this kind of mob. “It’s all a part of the experience,” he said, […] most of the garments were gone within minutes as the first wave of shoppers snapped up everything in sight, filling four or five or six bags each with clothes.”

H&M, Versace, fashion collaborations
While I think it is very sad that people line up, in the freezing cold and sometimes overnight, to buy cheap knock offs of Versace at H&M, I do know that there are a lot of people out there who are sad, so it doesn’t come as a huge surprise. The shocker is that fashion media and industry go wild over this stuff. These people have access to an incredible amount of beautiful clothing, and most of them probably have access to it for little or no money, and yet they choose to join a crush of people fighting to BUY Versace for H&M in the middle of the night? Has the fashion world gone nuts?

I guess so.

H&M, Versace, fashion collaborations

I can’t see any appeal in owning something that a bunch of other fashion people are going to be wearing, there is nothing unique about that. And the product, which I’ll admit has some great prints, looks to be made from cheap synthetic fabrics. Can someone shed some light on this for me? Why do people want to fight over this? I will gladly fight for fashion, but it would have to be Chanel bags at 90% off or Dior dresses at a sample sale. Not cheap high street fashion that thousands of other people will have. It defies all the rules of fashion: it is neither exclusive, high quality, or special. In fact, it is a bit garish. Yet people love it. Why?

  • Madeleine Gallay

    Indeed … H&M is not having fabulously profitable quarters. The Lanvin bits did not have excellent sell-through and became shredded to emerge as recycled clothes, mildly interesting.

    It is not ok to have H&M “designer” collections heralded as something to aspire to. The quality and construction is low, lower than the usual H&M stock. That they pony up to red carpet star treatment does not change the fact that .. these are cheap clothes, perhaps even overpriced. Not a tad of intrinsic value.

    And I am aware that there are lines and eBay sellers who thrill to these “masstige” events.


  • AnaO

    I heard it’s actually leather.  But whatever.  The clothes look cool in the campaign photos, but I’ve happened to actually see them on “real people”.  And, honestly, they sucked. The only ones who should be allowed to wear them are skinny teens. But, while I belong to this lucky group, I will not wear Versace for H&M. Because it’s tacky. Because everyone has it. Because it will turn totally passe after New Year’s Day. And because I prefer to save for one real Versace piece.

  • Jasper

    who besides a “fashion blogger” type person would wear any of these VERSACE clothes anyway? i have a feeling the quality of this collection is better than previous h&m collaborations though. i mean, it actually looks like it could be from a versace runway collection. in fact, it looks way nicer than some of the collection they’ve put out recently

  • Anonymous

    Yes, some of the jackets are leather, and they are $250. I haven’t seen them on real people yet, but I am scared to. This is most definitely the type of clothing that looks great on a model (face it, what doesn’t look great on a model?) but will be scary on a real person.

  • Anonymous

    Some of the designs look good because they are based on Versace archives, stuff Gianni designed, which is far superior to the stuff Donatella designs.

  • Diana Z.

    I unknowingly walked into the Pacific Centre H&M on the day the Versace collection came out. If I get anxious going in there on a regular day, that day I had to leave right away, even if I did have to buy some legwarmers.

  • TRB

    Maybe some of us just like how the clothes look and don’t care if it’s Versace or not. I have real Versace pieces and I happened to also like the H&M Collection. Please don’t make people who liked the collection feel like they are inadequete just because you don’t like the clothes.

  • Anonymous

    On the contrary, I think the collection is nice. My issue is that people are WAY too excited about it.
    Alexandra Suhner Isenberg

  • Jasonburton80

    I think that whole idea behind ‘designers for Versace’ is not only to produce a quick buck, but to make fashion more accessible to the masses. I love fashion, but for one reason or another I don’t have thousands of pounds to spend on a couple of designer shirts every season.

    I personally think it’s great that a successful brand like H&M, regardless of quality, is collaborating with high end designers to produce pieces that are affordable for the mainstream. Lets face it, who regularly shops at Versace, a very small percentage of the population. Yes, it’s a household name and everyone would love to be able to shop there, but isn’t that easy.

    Doesn’t Joe Bloggs deserve to wear “designer goods”?

    Why shouldn’t fashion be readily available to everyone? When I say everyone, I mean people who want to buy high end brands, but are unable too. Granted, those people could save up over time, but that means one (or two items if your lucky) per year. Anyway, these collections are limited and they’re off the shelves in seconds. Who are they hurting? If anything, designers gain further interest in their high end brand, thus creating interest and possible (I mean that loosely) future spending on the ‘real thing’. 

    I understand that people in the industry might believe that H&M is devaluing the industry, but lets face facts, H&M are way ahead of the game regards making a profit and being successful. They’re definitely doing something right.

  • Anonymous

    Lots of interesting points Jason. Firstly, I don’t think H&M is devaluing the industry. I have no problem with their collaborations, in fact, I’d buy pieces if they were readily available. My problem is the hype that surrounds it. I think it is barbaric that people line up overnight in NOVEMBER to buy H&M. Why not do it more diplomatically? It is absolutely ridiculous that they encourage their customers to line up outside in cold weather. That is my problem with this collection, and their other ones. As a result, the collections get so overhyped. Yes, it is nice stuff, and yes, it is nice to be able to be designer goods at their price, but it is not worth fighting (literally) for.

    Your point about Joe Bloggs deserving to wear “designer goods” is a whole other argument. I don’t think everyone deserves access to luxury goods. If not, they aren’t luxury goods. Ten, twenty years ago, people accepted that they couldn’t afford designer fashion unless they were wealthy, or they saved up. Now poeple think they are entitled to this, because of cultural shifts and how our lifestyles have changed. If everyone had access to luxury, then it wouldn’t be luxury. Perhaps it is callous to say this, but if you can’t afford it, then you shouldn’t be able to buy it. Remember, this is coming from someone who is not much of a luxury consumer, I give up a lot of things in life (having a nice car, going to fancy restaurants, etc…) and I have worked very hard to be able to afford the few luxury items I do have.

    Luxury brands immediately devalue themselves when the mass can afford them. They should remain exclusive, that is one of the things we are paying for.

  • anya

    I don’t line up overnight. For both Lanvin and Versace, I got there at 5am (I live a couple of blocks away from H&M) and I was given my bracelet at around 6:30 with a specified shopping time (it said 10:40). Usually one goes home and returns then. Anyhow, it’s actually pretty civilized and organized. Once you go in, you have 15 minutes to shop and you get your own personal shopper that even carries your shopping bag for you, gets you sizes etc. After that, you can take as much time as you need in the change room. There is no need for fighting — all of that is greatly exaggerated (although I did encounter a bag snatcher last year!). 

    As per quality, it’s lower than designer’s usual work, but way better than regular H&M. Both Lanvin and Versace were mostly silks and reasonably priced (I think most silk dresses were under $200). The runs are small. I believe there is only a 100 of each garment per store, which is why things get sold out pretty fast. Most of them are purchased by eBay flippers (this bugs me). So, it’s not like thousands of other people (at least in Vancouver) will actually be wearing the same garment. 

    But having said that, I agree with you that this collection was not the greatest (too much Donatella, not enough Gianni). I mostly wanted the costume jewellery (which I got and which is lovely) and the Gianni-like quilted jacket (which was sadly sold out). My friend ended up getting a LDB with cutout sleeves in your picture, which was actually really nicely cut. And we both got the silk studded blouse (I guess we’ll have to coordinate, haha).

    I do hate the general hype too, especially eBaying for ridiculous prices. Interestingly, I spotted people in the lineup with $5,000 Chanel bags, and even some wealthy socialite types I recognized from fashion events… I thought to myself: “Why in the world are you here?”

  • Anonymous

    Well the way you do it sounds reasonably civilized, but I am still not sure about getting up at that time… (although I’m awake at that time anyway.) But I still think it is overhyped, and I can’t believe the fashion industry people go crazy over it. $200 will get you a Lanvin dress at their Paris sample sale, $70 will get you a dress at the DVF samples sale in NYC, and these fashion people have access to those… Why go crazy for something available to the masses?

  • anya

    Haha, no idea. It’s hip to pretend they are “just like us,” I guess. 

  • SLee123

    I absolutely agree. I consider myself stylish and love enjoying nice, quality items- especially if I can get them at a fantastic deal. Vintage and consignment stores are my favorite. However, these “affordable designer” lines do not impress me; in fact, I often feel insulted by the items, which are typically made of cheap materials (polyester) and are poorly manufactured. Not to mention that every other shopper in America is likely to have the same item(s).

    While I understand the idea of  wanting to be inclusive to everyone and provide “luxury” at an affordable price to the masses (and stores wanting to attract shoppers to boost revenue), my thinking is if you can’t afford the real thing, why bother? Otherwise, it almost comes off as a desperate attempt to be something that you’re not. I’d rather buy at the high end of a lesser-luxury brand (think Banana Republic vs. Old Navy) than the bottom-shelf end of a luxury brand… (Versace for H&M vs. Versace). With the former, you’re more likely to end up with classic items that are much better quality and will hold up much better over time.