By Han Sol Song
Let’s be honest. There are few things better than gaining access to high designer brands at affordable prices. Not so long ago, designer labels required lots of cash, but this is no longer the case. When fast fashion brands like H&M, Topshop, and Uniqlo introduced the concept of designer collaborations, people were excited to finally get their hands on the latest looks by top designers for affordable prices.
This fall, H&M is back with another designer collaboration. Since 2004, Swedish fashion retailer H&M has been collaborating with several high-end designers including Karl Lagerfeld, Comme des Garcçons, Marni, Maison Martin Margiela and more recently, Isabel Marant. This year, H&M is collaborating with the famous American designer Alexander Wang, and H&M has finally released the books from the collection. As an Alexander Wang fan might have expected, they consist of countless looks inspired by the latest trend in fashion: “Sportism”. Many of the outfits included sweatshirts made of Neoprene, which is the material used to make diving suits. As Alexander Wang always does, he made the color scheme to this collection very black and grey with minimalistic details. The collection became available on November 06, 2014 in selected H&M stores and online. Save up some cash for that November dash! (For more information visit hm.com)
A few weeks ago, another fast fashion brand Topshop launched an exciting designer collaboration. Historically, Topshop has teamed up with fashion icon and model Kate Moss to create swoon-worthy designs. Collections by Kate Moss have been successful throughout the company’s history. This time, Topshop collaborated with Marques’ Almeida. Marques’ Almeida is a London-based fashion brand adored by Londoners for years. Marques’ Almeida is available at only a few select shops in America, the biggest being Opening Ceremony. The brand’s signature item is its famous cutoff denim, which was frequently featured in 2014 fall/winter campaigns. Considering Marques’ Almeida’s collection pieces range from $300 to $700, her collaboration with Topshop makes for a more affordable $50 to $500 price range, while still maintaining the same quality you would expect from Marques’ Almeida. (For more information visit topshop.com)
Uniqlo, a Japanese fast fashion brand based on simple yet functional designs, collaborated with two designer labels this past fall. The store teamed up with Jil Sander to create the +J label, a more upscale line of Uniqlo clothing. The collection pieces were designed by Raf Simmons, the creative director of Jil Sander until early 2012, and +J label pieces were sold for up to $500. Anything with Jil Sander’s name being sold for $500 or under is actually quite affordable compared to the usual thousand dollar price tags. After doing a few collaborations with Jil Sander, Uniqlo decided to halt the +J label, turning instead to Under Cover by Jun Takahashi. Even though this collection was full of unique items, it did not sell well. As a result, Uniqlo teamed up with Jil Sander again this fall to sell her popular pieces from the past in limited quantities. As you might expect, this revived collection has been successful due to the vast number of people who were unable to get their hands on Jil Sander collaboration pieces last fall. Besides the revival of the +J collection, Uniqlo has also teamed up with Helmut Lang to introduce the exclusive “Urban Sweats Collection”. Alexandre Plokhov, the current creative director of Helmut Lang, does the impossible and combines sophisticated designs with the comfort of sweats, presented in his latest line of never before seen athletic styles. This collection ranges from $39 to $200, which is a steal for such amazing designs. (To check out more, visit Uniqlo.com)
As you can see, high-end fashion doesn’t have to come with an out-of-reach price tag. Fast fashion stores like H&M, Topshop, and Uniqlo succeed in giving college students more reason to love them by collaborating with designers like Alexander Wang, Marques’ Almeida, and Jil Sander to give us access to their upscale designs. The downside? Be quick, because these designer collaboration collections tend to sell out real fast.