Fast fashion collaborations (FFC) are near-and-dear to all of us at Refinery29. When luxury designers create diffusion collections for more price-conscious shoppers, it kind of feels like everyone wins. We've certainly been fond of lines like Versace (and now Margiela) for H&M, Narciso for Kohl's, and so many designers for Target. The idea has no shortage of advocates, but Parsons professor Eugene Rabkin isn’t among them.
The industry insider's article (published on the Business of Fashion yesterday) sinks a blunt, no-holds-barred critique into people's enthusiasm over fast fashion. Rabkin wrote the piece in preparation for tomorrow's Margiela drop at H&M, a collaboration he considers a strange turn for the brand’s history.
Martin Margiela — the hermetic man behind the eponymous, avant-garde fashion house and original member of the Antwerp 6’s band of design radicals — had always championed clothing with inherant substance, and made many attempts to remove his own name from the equation. His famously tag-less line features a conceptual approach to clothes. And, much like the designer himself (who rejected personal fame, refused to have his photograph taken, never appeared at shows, and quietly handed over the reigns to a faceless group of designers), he wished for his collections to reject labels.
Ultimately, Margiela's backstory feels at cross purposes, albeit in an elitist way, with the current fanfare (which Rabkin calls "brand worship") generated by the collaboration with H&M. Rabkin contends that this, like all FFCs, are strategic marketing tools made to stream more traffic into big boxes and to boost luxury brand outreach (into your morning coffee, even) without much consideration for the clothes at hand.
Click over to the full post for Rabkin's warning to shoppers, and his thoughts on why the fashion you're shopping for is only generated in the form of “assembly-line knockoffs that you will discard by next year.” Then, head to the comments section below to tell us what you think of Rabkin’s assault on the fast-fashion bubble we've grown to love so deeply. Do you MMM for H&M brings great design to a wider range or people, or dilutes the value of design as art? Or do you fall somewhere in between, like we do? (Business Of Fashion)
Photo: Courtesy of H&M