Buy-to-sell culture has ruined high street collaborations
The mark-ups on HM x Kenzo are already stratospheric
In 2004, H&M launched their first ever designer collaboration with Karl Lagerfeld. It was a huge step for high street fashion – finally high-end clothing was accessible to normal people. It was exciting, people loved it and H&M capitalised on it. The campaign was kicked off with a video completely rinsing the elitism and snobbery of the high fashion world, and here they were to swoop in and save the day. Limited lines were released so the collection sold out pretty quickly, but unlike today it wasn’t impossible to get your hands on a piece. Since then huge names like Stella McCartney, Jimmy Choo and Versace got involved, and with each collaboration came less chance of anyone ever being able to actually get anything.
Today, H&M launched their Kenzo collection and it was chaos. People camped out from 11.30pm last night to secure spots, the site crashed within minutes and they had to provide a wristband system for people to get inside the London Flagship store. Basically, if you wanted to get your hands on something, you’d have needed to be extremely patient and dedicated, or extremely lucky. Maybe they just really wanted that pink and orange fluffy coat they’d seen online, but the sad reality is that most people bought things purely to sell on for profit.
Within a few hours of the collection being launched, eBay already had 2,747 results for “Kenzo H&M”. Items are being sold for as much as six times their original price, like this leather jacket which retailed at £199 going for £1298. It’s like that time people literally paid £1,000 for a clay red brick that Supreme launched. Except in H&M’s case, the product is actually pretty decent. This afternoon, a H&M spokesperson ironically said:” We are proud and delighted to have achieved yet another successful designer collaboration, proving once again that design and quality are not a matter of price.”Are you kidding me
It’s never been easy to get your hands on something from a H&M designer collaboration, but this has become insane. For something that was made to make high-fashion and affordable to everyone, it’s become pretty elitist. The buy-to-sell culture has made it as expensive as actually buying designer clothes, and it’s even harder to get hold of them.
In 2004 when the first collection was launched, reselling clothes wasn’t as ridiculously easy as it is today. Back then it was pretty much just eBay, but now there’s hundreds of clothes selling sites, apps and marketplaces. There’s Depop, Asos Marketplace or Vestaire Collective to name a few, and the rise of streetwear made room hundreds of Facebook buy-and-sell groups like The Basement, Wavey Garms and Facebook Marketplace.
I miss the days when you could walk in to a shop and actually buy something. The days when you didn’t need to meticulously organise and camp overnight in the cold, the days when you didn’t need wristbands to get into a bloody H&M. While the buy-to-sell culture can be great in so many ways, it’s destroying the concept of high street collaborations – to make luxury accessible and affordable.
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