Another season. Another fast fashion collabo.
Kenzo x H&M releases this week. Pioneered, of course, by the downtown stage-setting, fêted af duo of Humberto Leon and Carol Lim; founders of Opening Ceremony.
Imagine a PirateBay download queue for a Megan Fox sex tape went meatspace, and had its parents drive it in from the suburbs, and you have a rough idea of the pandemonium we’re in for outside downtown H&Ms in urban centres across the globe this Thursday.
Sure, there are covetable pieces. And certainly, in this particular instance, there are statement pieces in spades for the price of a decent bottle of whiskey, that downtown gallerina/kids-about-town of the sort that CobraSnake and the Arab Parrot used to photograph will rock to def. Lime tiger faux-fur at double-digit price point? Natch. Ditto MA-1s that resemble Memphis-era George Sowden prints. And, let’s be honest, that reversible red/black and white/black tiger print asymmetrical-hemmed maxi skirt is fire.
Which bloody sucks, since quality level is sure to be such that you could just as easily just burn your money instead, if you plan on wearing it more than half a dozen times.
Though, I’ll give them this. While I think I started this piece ready to harp on the fastfash collabo culture (particularly after the queues for that silly BAPE x Champion crossover this week), Kenzo clearly gets the pros and cons of fast fashion. Most of us can’t afford all the things we want, which means that shelling out real money for the basics, the inevitables, makes all the sense, but the mid-4 to low-5 figure statement pieces are beyond the range of us mere mortals. Though, if it makes you feel any better, the other day Carine Roitfeld (who, it bears mentioning, launched a new crossover collection with Uniqlo last week) was sitting beside me trying on a pair of $2K+ boots at SLP, and decided against them.
However, $129 for a lime green tiger jumpsuit seems somehow correct, since you’ll never once wear the fucking thing. You’ll try it on a couple of times, get jazzed, then check the full-length ‘one last time’ before you walk out the door, which is exactly 3.5 seconds before you give up, and change. Human Nature. T’was ever thus. Unless your name is Beckerman. But it’s not, and neither is mine.
I’ve given these fast fashion lines a go once or twice. A beautifully designed (on the surface) Phillip Lim x Target raincoat seemed like a steal, until it fair melted when coming in contact with liquids, like one of those Da Vinci Code cryptex messages. And I’m wearing those Margiela Chucks right now, though they’re not really the same thing, if we’re honest.
For most of us, fashion has become a little easier of late. Like the Fruits-era ‘Tokyo Tribes of Shibuya’ days of yore, no matter how ‘outré’ our individual outfits seem to those of differentiating aesthetic mores, we all still tend to adhere to a certain (personally or socially) ascribed aesthetic. It might be a syncopated Gyaru outfit. Maybe you’re on that Gothic Lolita tip. But, whether you’re male or female, I’ll take the spread that you’re closer to post-modern Ramones, incorporating some or all of: perfecto, oversized wool ‘topcoat’, (black) skinnies, slouchy gauzy t, flyknit analogues, beat-to-shit pistol boots, or Cons. No shame in that game. Fashion uniform. Maybe Archie comics had it right all these years.
But, soliloquy aside, my point is that, if your wardrobe consists of a few iron-clad staple pieces, maybe don’t buy them from the Balmain x H&M collection. Especially them Poshmark resell jawns.
Sure, a Balenciaga bomber costs 6 or 7K, but you can wear it for a decade. Bic lighters last a month, but ST Duponts can be passed down to your kids. What was that Patek slogan? ‘You never really own a Patek Philippe. You merely look after it for the next generation’. Chapeau. True story. I’m rocking my mother’s college-era luggage to this day.
Fast fashion provides an excellent opportunity to cop playful, atypical outfit options on the cheap, but the ten pieces everyone’s wardrobe is really comprised of should probably cost as much as you can stomach without crying. Perfecto. Slim white collared shirt. Black and selvedge skinnies. LBD or black dress shirt. Navy or black blazer. Oxfords and Jack Purcells. The standards. The pieces canonized as essentials in FuckYeahMensWear. Oh, and everywhere else.
The excellent, albeit thoroughly undervalued, HBO show ‘How To Make It in America’ offered this piece of advice. ‘The secret is not get rich quick. The secret is to get rich slow, and appreciate it.’ Perhaps we should apply this to wardrobe building as well…