The Problem With Designer Collections for the High Street

Peter Pilotto for Target

Peter Pilotto for Target

Just a little while ago Peter Pilotto released his Target collection. Beautiful prints and vibrant colours were all over the page (website) and whether you regularly buy designer clothing or not chances are that you probably heard of it. Usually you spend a UK household’s average yearly food bill on an outfit from Peter Pilotto but with his Target range (which could be bought in the UK from net-a-porter) things because a little more affordable.

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But the problem with this collaboration and the many H&M has done in the past (Isabel Marant, Versache, Lanvin etc) is that even when clothing is affordable for the masses it isn’t always bought by them. Just search for ‘Peter Pilotto Target’ on eBay or ‘H&M Isabel Marant’ and £80 dresses are selling for well over a hundred and £149 boots are reaching £400. The people who carefully budgeted for a dress from one of these collections or a pair of sunglasses aren’t actually able to buy them; instead, thanks to sites like eBay, they are going to those who are willing to pay over the odds for a piece of exclusivity and rarely is this person lacking in disposable income.

When you read a magazine publicising one of these collaborations they use language and words which make you think of these pieces as being disposable. You are told to buy as many as you can of as many things as possible because, according to them, this is fast fashion. But to the rest of us it isn’t. It’s a strange dichotomy isn’t it? One the one hand you have a designer selling their clothing to a much wider and very eager market at relatively affordable prices. On the other hand you have magazines belittling the value of such clothing purely because the clothing’s target market has vastly increased. 

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The clothing is exclusive because it has been created specially for this and because there is limited supply, however it isn’t exclusive because vastly more people can afford it. And because more people can afford it there is a constant theme in magazines suggesting that the clothing, like all fast fashion should be chucked almost instantly; after all those ‘it’ pair of shoes aren’t going to be ‘it’ for more than probably a week. Yes the idea of doing that is exactly like flushing money, quite a bit of money too, down the toilet. Why aren’t designers saying that anything with their name on it is not meant to be thrown away? I understand that money plays a huge part in this, I do, but surely there must be some pride involved to? You made it and I have chosen to wear it – be proud of that, don’t urge me to throw it away as soon as possible.

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I love these designer collaborations, I really do. And when websites work (H&M needs to sort theirs out) it’s easy to buy something you like made by someone who usually makes clothes that sell for abut the same price as a second hand car. But I am tired of reading that this makes it disposable fashion; whether magazines and designer like it or not, not all that much we buy is disposable. And I hate seeing the piece I wanted but couldn’t get on eBay for about three times it’s RRP. That’s just depressing.

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