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H&M and Mugler Are Collaborating; What Kind of Message Does This Send?

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Kent State chapter.

H&M, an incredibly popular fast fashion brand and Mugler, a luxury fashion house are collaborating on a capsule collection for this spring. Mugler has come to be known as a high-end streetwear brand, originally founded by French designer Manfred Thierry Mugler. He was first known for his captivating couture pieces, many of which have been worn by celebrities today. Rapper Cardi B and Lady Gaga have been known to wear vintage Mugler at red carpet events and music videos.

In 2019, Mugler came out of retirement to design Kim Kardashian’s “Wet Look” for the Met Gala. He also acted as Beyonce’s artistic advisor on her “I Am…World Tour,” and created her costumes for performances.

H&M is a fast fashion clothing brand originally founded in Sweden, but has grown into an international powerhouse. They are the second largest international clothing retailer on the market. In the wake of climate change and aggressive environmental reform, H&M has come under fire for their lack of sustainable and ethical clothing production. Fashion is one of the world’s top polluters, as fabric can be a challenging material to recycle.

In 2022, H&M was sued for their misleading marketing after launching their own “sustainable” clothing collection. Investigations led to the discovery that the company was allegedly lying about how environmentally-friendly their clothes really were. The Conscious Collection items “contain a higher percentage of synthetics than the main collection,” and “gives consumers the impression that the materials used in its products are nonetheless environmentally sustainable.”

The Mugler brand has been reconstructed by a series of creative directors. Current director Casey Cadwallader has been in charge since 2018. Models such as Bella Hadid can be seen walking the Mugler runway in dramatic corsets and leather. On a positive note, the Mugler and H&M collaboration can give the average, middle class consumer a chance to experience luxury design, but is it just another chance for corporations to take advantage of the common spender? H&M claims they “(have) been democratizing high-fashion by offering global audiences the chance to own special pieces of high-end designer history.

H&M has done a variety of collections with other designer brands such as Versace, Simone Rocha and many others. These capsule pieces are not nearly the same quality as typical luxury goods, and are most likely to be produced in the same fast fashion factories that manufacture H&M’s main collection.

Instead of shopping the incoming collection, invest your time into finding vintage or pre-owned Mugler pieces on resale sites such as Depop or Poshmark. Vintage stores may carry the brand as well. Proper research can lead to a triage of designer items for much cheaper than retail price sometimes. Consider visiting estate sales and thrift shops in affluent neighborhoods as well.

Fast fashion corporations and luxury brands must be held accountable for the blatant disregard of sustainable production and ethical marketing. Most of us do not have any other option to shop at places like H&M, where prices are low and trends are quick to change. Take the time to understand how your clothes are made, where they come from and speak up.

Lily Cassida

Kent State '26

Lily is a Special Education major at Kent State University. She is originally from Pittsburgh, PA. She enjoys watching Keira Knightley movies, buying vintage clothes and playing with her dog, Dixie.