Style & Beauty

The good, the bad & the ugly of fast fashion collaborations with luxury designers

Jun 12, 2019 | By LUXUO

The global fashion industry has an estimated value of slightly over 3 trillion dollars; while traditional luxury fashion conglomerates which hold brands like Gucci, Prada, and Louis Vuitton, have maintained strong positions globally, the rapid growth and reach of fast fashion purveyours led by giants like Zara, Forever 21, and H&M have been utilising a controversial strategy of copy-catting runways and then delivering them to market at the speed of the internet. The combination of versatility and affordable pricing makes them a compelling choice for middle income and even some high end consumers who might prefer to spend more on ultimate experiences. Once upon a time, high end brands believed copycats were not only eating their share of the pie but were also creatively offensive, sparing no expense at the courtrooms with lawsuits. However, the utilitarian nature of clothing and thus fashion, makes it difficult to enforce intellectual property protections since “Creative elements of a design that can be separated from the functional elements are subject to protection”. Hence, fast forward, designers, and luxury brands, have reached a somewhat comfortable detente with fast fashion. Or have they?

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly of Fast Fashion Collaborations with Luxury Designers and Brands

Oddly, it may sound counterfactual but a 2014 study by Carnegie Mellon University PHD candidates actually found that “Contrary to the conventional wisdom, we find that prohibiting low-end copycats can decrease the demand of high-end brands significantly.” In that regard, the fashion world has grown increasing comfortable with the letter “X” as a result. Often associated with brand collaborations, ‘SUPREME X COMME DES GARÇONS SHIRT’, for example, have become a staple trend between high end, streetwear and fast fashion, igniting social media feeds with announcements unveiling their latest collaborations to great hype. From Vivienne Westwood’s capsule collection for Burberry to Kim Jones for Dior’s menswear, everyone has acknowledge its impact of bringing influential brands and people together for a solid collaboration.

Louis Vuitton and Supreme, which sold out at eight dedicated pop-ups around the world and has increase in resale value on platforms such as eBay. You can currently buy a red keepall for just under £14,000 on the latter, almost six times the original retail price. Such luxury collaborations have proven its success and economic sense over the years and the word ‘collaboration; has been part of fashion’s everyday language.

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