Yesterday in the early afternoon, a best guy friend texted me to say, “OMG, woke up with lady friend at 4:00 AM for Isabel Marant. Now 2 PM and feel destroyed.” Of course I knew exactly what he was referring to, not simply because I am a fashion fiend (gag me with that statement) but also because press for the launch of designer Isabel Marant’s collection for H&M has been entirely unavoidable. Virtually every blog that I read as part of my morning routine has mentioned it in some form or another, not just yesterday but during the seemingly endless weeks leading up to the collection’s debut. By now I feel as if I could sketch the whole collection on paper, without missing a beat (you know, if I lived in another world where my sketching skills were actually legit).
I can also recite the exuberant praise sung for certain pieces in particular and tell you which blogger or social-media-savvy editor bought what, as they have hammered it into the world wide web ceaselessly since these gifts were received. It’s a bit much, if you ask me—and by a bit much I mean way too much, totally unnecessary, and one of fashion’s biggest bummers.
Though the ideas behind these high-meets-low collections are well intentioned, the way that they often pervade public consciousness never sits right with me. It’s as if, at the mention of a new collaboration like this, we all surrender our individual preferences to the noise of a collection that favors copycat dressing. Even if the designer isn’t normally a favorite of ours, or has a style wholly different from our own, our interest is suddenly piqued simply because we can now buy their wares on the cheap. There’s something about this “more bang for your buck” concept that turns us all into drooling die-hards for items that are not exactly worthy of, well, dying hard.
I realize that the foundation of trends is that they are widespread, and that there is bound to be overlap in the way we put ourselves together and the labels we are drawn to. But these lower-priced designer collections seem to be shoved down our throats, rather than presented with room for differing opinions. A blogger may state his or her lack of interest in a particular collection, yet then continue to harp on said collection for weeks and go out of his or her way to find a piece that suits them. It reads like an obligation, a mandate—you must like something in the bunch, after all, everyone else does. It represents one of the Internet’s many conundrums: as a platform capable of reflecting diversity in every sense, it often becomes, instead, a cookie cutter for society to cram itself into. In the fashion sphere in particular, it can feel like a virtual high school, with everyone clamoring to be in on the same thing.
Don’t get me wrong; I like a lot of what main label Isabel Marant is shelling, though I have never understood the enormous hype surrounding her name. Sure, many of us do harbor a desire to be more French (whatever that means) and seemingly nonchalant in our curated efforts at looking cool, and her designs certainly help us in that department. But I definitely don’t think her work is worthy of the heightened praise that’s also given to game-changers like Phoebe Philo or Raf Simons. Do you agree that these overblown collaborations foster major crowd-think? Or am I just honing in on a problem that isn’t really there?