Capsule collections offer high fashion at low prices

By: Esra Erdogan/Columnist

I abhor the term “recessionista.” I do not know who coined it, but the insensitive term used in magazines is not a marketing technique I will ever fall for. Magazine editors only use it because it appeals to the guilty consciences of the top one percent.

Like it or not, the supposed “recessionista” style has had its effect on the fashion industry. Ever since the recession started, labels have been creating all sorts of lower-priced brands for the lowly masses like myself.

There are not many advantages to the financial situation that we are in. However, you could see capsule collections as a silver lining.

If you have turned on the TV at all these past two weeks, you have probably seen the creepy yet cool advertising of Versace for the H&M collection. The collection is inspired by the “greatest hits” of the Italian fashion house with a modern silhouette so the pieces can fit seamlessly in the closets of men and women today.

The problem is — other than the fact that I would never wear teal pants cut from silk kimono fabric — the stuff does not come cheap. With most of the dresses running around $200, I would not blame you if you headed over to Zara to buy two dresses instead of one.

Capsule collections are tricky things. Either the designer’s work is completely compromised because of the poor craftsmanship and fabric quality of the mass-produced garments, or the clothes end up being completely hideous because the designer does not want to lose customers at their higher price points.

Earlier this year, Target launched their Missoni capsule collection. The collection included all sorts of products, from housewares to clothing. While the collection was a financial success for Target, I realized that the fashion aspect of the line was null. The clothes were uninspired and gimmicky.

Of course, that did not stop me from buying whatever I could get my hands on. I am glad, though, that I did not waste too much on any of the more expensive pieces. Overall, I did not think it was the ideal capsule collection.

Target and H&M have had successful collaborations in the past like Luella, Thakoon and Lanvin. What made these collections unique was that they stayed true to the designers’ aesthetic, and the clothes were well made at a more affordable price. Department stores and boutiques that are looking into doing collaborations should take these lines as an example for what works.

I fantasize about potential collaborations all the time. My top picks would be Alexander Wang for The Gap, Marc Jacobs for Zara and Tom Ford for any store. The style of these designers would match well with the fast fashion chains. Rumor has it that Tom Ford is being considered for an H&M collection, so maybe my dream will come true.

Haute Topic is a weekly fashion column. Look for it every Wednesday this fall.

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