H&M’s collaborations with designers has been a long-respected tradition for the high street retailer, ranging from the haute couture of Balmain to the streetwear cult classic Comme des Garçons. However, with the brand launching 3 limited edition ranges with William Morris, Moschino and Eytys in the last six months it makes me (hopefully) question whether these collaborations will become a more regular occurrence.
H&M has been the only brand to perfect the marrying of the high-end with the high-street through collaborations. This is proved by its ability to sell out online and in store within minutes to hours of release. But why are these collaborations so popular? The limited-edition nature of these collections means that there is a hype around the collaboration which appeals to the public because if they manage to get their hands on it, they feel like a lucky select few (it’s very similar to the hype around the brand Supreme with collections selling out in seconds and then being resold online for extortionate prices). It also makes the designer more accessible to the general public because the collection features more wearable prints and accessories at a significantly reduced price point. I also think the variety of the designers that H&M collaborates with has been pivotal to their success. Take the William Morris collaboration; William Morris is a brand usually associated with interior design, however H&M managed to take this heritage homeware brand and made it relevant within the world of fashion. Moreover, their most recent collection with the little-known designer Swedish brand Eytys was another sell-out success. Eytys specialises in unisex clothes, something which H&M does not offer in their regular collections- is H&M trying to increase prominence of unisex clothing within an increasingly gender fluid society? I think that through these collaborations H&M is trying to appeal to all aspects of the consumerist market and its enduring popularity is a testament to that success.
H&M has been the standout high-street brand concerning its success as Debenhams and Topshop have attempted to emulate their collaborations, although less effectively. I’m sure everyone remembers the initial hype around Topshop’s Ivy Park collaboration with Beyoncé, and though the first collection was quick to sell-out at the time, the continuation of this collaboration has arguably been detrimental to Topshop as the collection is frequently reduced in the sales showing that Topshop’s attempt has failed to garner the same attention and lacks innovation.
Who will H&M collaborate with next? It is expected that next year’s designer collaboration will be announced in the forthcoming months but looking at their recent success H&M is likely to keep us guessing if they will release anymore collections in the interim. Personally, I can’t wait to see who H&M will collaborate with next.