Designer vs high street meets desginer


SW Londoner’s Rachel Stevenson looks at the practicality of the high street meets designer collections and whether the prices are worth it.


By Rachel Stevenson

Crowds waited throughout the night. Excitement and anticipation filled the air. Screaming, pushing. 

As fashion hopefuls had been queuing for over fifteen hours, Donatella Versace emerged from a chauffeur driven Maserati to a pink carpet laid out for her at the launch of the designer’s collaboration with high street brand H&M.

The collection featured in just a handful of shops in London, including High Street Kensington and Westfield Shepherd’s Bush.

But is this really designer fashion for the everyday woman?

Aimed at high street shoppers, leather dresses and studded everything hit H&M’s shelves this month, selling for a tenth of the designer versions costs.

Prices ranged from £20 for accessories, to £179.99 for a leather mini dress.

Cheap for Versace, maybe, but outrageously priced for a high street brand where you would usually struggle to spend over £40 on an item.

Renowned for its casual basics and easy to wear everyday items, the garish Versace prints featured in the collection were a far cry from H&M’s usual style.

The bold designs and leather items that featured in the collection are usually best worn by stick thin models – hardly a nod to the hundreds of women who queued overnight for their share of designer clobber.

This distinction seems clear to the designer; Donatella Versace is outrageously claimed to have dismissed the use of normal women to model the range, saying they ‘didn’t fit Versace’s branding.’ A claim H&M were quick to deny.

But the proof is in the advertising. Versace’s models for the collection are tellingly characteristic of the fashion brand; 6ft tall and wafer thin – just your average woman then!

Katherine Blake, 26, Balham said: “I think the brand is cashing in on young girls wanting to own designer clothes.

“The items are ridiculously expensive, and the materials seemed cheap. I tried one of the leather dresses on and it was so unflattering.”

Those who purchase designer garments do not just want to own a label – they are looking for quality items. Well cut, able to flatter and cover just the right places.

This luxury is something that this high street collaboration was noticeably lacking.

Granted, the pieces are as exclusive as the designer equivalent – the items sold out within 24 hours.

Nicole Roe, 19, a fashion student who queued at the High Street Kensington store said: “I queued for so long and only a few of the items I had selected to buy were even in the shop.

“We didn’t have time to try anything on and we were rushing about trying to find the things we wanted in the time we were given.”

The point of these ‘high street meets designer’ collections are lost on me.

To me, designer pieces are special because of their exclusivity, fabrics and the flattering way they fit.

I’d rather stick to my H&M basics and when I can afford a designer dress, I don’t want everyone on the high street to be wearing it too!


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