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Photo: Alexander Wang for H&M

Wang for Days

· News, Shopping Guides · , , , ,

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After the announcement of Alexander Wang’s H&M collaboration earlier this year, customers have been anxiously anticipating a preview of the coveted capsule collection. Well, now all of the looks are here, including tons of neoprene, utilitarian winter outerwear, and items garnished with a bold “WANG” logo. There were some great bags and shoes, too, like those slide-on sandals, leather high-top sneakers, and leather backpacks. And let’s not forget about the accessories. Bringing a few things from his “items” collection to the masses, Wang threw in the towel…literally. He also threw in a pair of goggles, a water bottle, a trophy, boxing gloves, keychains, and a whistle ring (because why not?).

The collection epitomizes Wang’s minimal, sporty aesthetic, providing tons of timelessly stylish pieces; we’re putting virtually every single thing on our wish list, to be honest. And while a lot of these items would make great investment pieces, there’s no need to shell out all of your money. In the event that you somehow forgot about H&M’s remarkable prices, you’d be pleasantly surprised to find out that many of these pieces come in below the $400 mark.

Every H&M designer collaboration is kind of a big deal, with customers lining up hours before store openings to get their hands on these pieces before they run out. Meanwhile, Alexander Wang is undoubtedly one of the biggest contemporary labels of the moment. The New York-based designer’s mass following expands well-beyond the realms of the high fashion niche. In other words, it wouldn’t be surprising if the release of this collection resulted in utter pandemonium. We’d definitely recommend reading up on some tips for shopping an H&M designer collaboration, especially this one. And in case your calendars aren’t already marked (which they definitely should be by now), Alexander Wang’s collection for H&M will be available at select H&M stores and at hm.com on November 6.

Check out the full Alexander Wang x H&M lookbook below!

Photos courtesy H&M

Instagram

Alexander Wang x H&M

· News, Trends & Shopping · , , , ,
Instagram

Instagram

The title pretty much says it all. For H&M’s next designer collaboration, the fast-fashion powerhouse has tapped none other than it-designer Alexander Wang. Wang made his Instagram debut with a teaser video for the collection (below), while also breaking the news at a Coachella party. The video features nothing more than field lights and a countdown clock with the numbers 11:06, implying that the collaboration will hit stores on November 6 of this year.

H&M’s past collaborations have come from the likes of Versace, Alber Elbaz for Lanvin and most recently Isabel Marant, whose collection for the global retailer sent sales through the roof. And with Wang’s immense popularity beyond the realms of just the fashion industry, there’s no doubt that this endeavor will be one of the biggest mashups yet. It’s also pretty likely that this will warrant crazed crowds and possible stampedes upon it’s retail debut; it’s recommended that shoppers prepare themselves ahead of time for potential madness. But until the highly anticipated November 6 release date, we can all stay up-to-date on the latest news for Wang’s H&M collaboration via Instagram.

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How to Prepare for an H&M Designer Collaboration

· Shopping Guides · , , , , , ,

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The news broke a while ago that Isabel Marant’s popular laid back Parisian styles would be reinvented at a lower price point for H&M’s latest designer collaboration. The ads and lookbooks have circulated, too, featuring iconic faces like Alek Wek, Devon Aoki, Clement Chabernaud, and more. Now the collection itself is all but upon us, as it launches tomorrow.

Including a range of pieces that embody Isabel Marant’s aesthetic, the collection also presents a rare occasion to see some menswear from the label. It’s always exciting to see limited edition pieces from top designers at reasonable prices, but maybe it’s a little bit too exciting at times.

It’s likely that you’re familiar with the mobs that gather in anticipation of these collections. Typically at the crack of dawn, or at 1AM if you’re going to the H&M at Times Square (sounds like a blast…), people nearly get violent when it comes to this type of event. Luckily, H&M’s newly installed online shop will carry the entire Isabel Marant collection, which will be available at 12PM EST. The option of avoiding the lines and crowds is definitely appealing, unless the site crashes like H&M’s UK site did at the launch of the 2011 Versace collaboration.

Not trying to discourage all of you eager Isabel Marant fans, but definitely be careful in pursuit of this designer collaboration. Things tend to get a little crazy.

Regardless, check out a few of the awesome looks from the Isabel Marant for H&M collection below. Good luck!

Images courtesy of Fashionista 

Feature image via Posh24

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Ce n’est que le début

· Editorial · , , , , , , , , , , ,

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Ce n’est que le début,  the second installment of the Paris Editorial Series expands upon the first concept with a slightly different angle. Featuring Taylor, the spread takes a darker approach to the typical Parisian romance story. Enjoy!

Style notes for this story:

Scott wears top Dior Homme. Blazer Dior Homme. Pants Zara. Shoes Saint Laurent. Bag Saint Laurent.

Taylor wears dress H&M. Shoes vintge

All photos by Margel DiMaggio 

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Overpriced?

· Thoughts, Trends & Shopping · , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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As designers and retailers sell off the last of their previous season’s pieces, the fall 2013 collections are slowly trickling into stores. Of course, these new items are accompanied by typically hefty price tags; prominent designer labels plus premium quality, often handmade goods equals a pretty steep cost. But brands like Prada and Saint Laurent are taking things to a whole new level, going from absurd to obscene.

Sure, the full-length furs (see feature image) in Prada’s fall 2013 ready-to-wear collection are to die for, embodying words like “luxury” and “sumptuous.” That being said, doesn’t $140,240 seem a little excessive? With that much money, you could send a kid through college or even buy a pretty nice house, and it’s hard to believe anyone’s priorities would lean more towards some new outerwear as opposed to more practical expenses.

Even more ridiculous is the $68,000 babydoll dress from Saint Laurent (also above). A sentiment that’s been repeated many times, Hedi Slimane is always outdoing himself when it comes to his crazy feats at what used to be YSL. The basic floral frock debuted in his fall 2013 ready-to-wear collection, which was noted for its cheap-looking, tacky, grungy (we could keep going…) appearance. Outerwear is naturally more expensive, especially when you revamp it with premium quality fur and the always-optimal Prada label; the price of Prada’s coat can almost be justified. But Slimane’s babydoll, a piece that could barely even be considered trendy these days, is completely uncalled for. Why not just get something identical from the likes of Topshop or Urban Outfitters? It’s possible the quality would even be better from those fast-fashion chains.

Fashion has a reputation for it’s outlandish prices, thus setting itself apart from other industries as one noted for exclusivity. Complaining about the price of fashion is akin to questioning the sky being blue; it’s become one of those things that just is. It almost makes sense that certain pieces can be so pricey, especially regarding the invitation-only, made-to-measure inclination of haute couture. However, the Prada and Saint Laurent pieces aren’t haute couture, and the rapid increase of the cost of ready-to-wear and accessories is growing more and more worrisome. In the U.S., the average salary of a schoolteacher is less than $60,000 per year. When noting that a simple babydoll dress costs more than an entire year’s earnings, it becomes a more complex issue than two designers’ insane items. This is just a small part in the larger, extremely ominous problem of fashion inflation.

Prices of luxury items have risen by almost 60 percent in the past decade, including handbags and shoes. Want a new pair of heels from Net-a-Porter? You can find more than a handful for over $1,000. Meanwhile, classic Chanel bags have risen to match the notoriously dangerous price tags on some of Hermès’ hottest handbags like the Birkin and the Kelly. The latter is now at a starting price of $7,600, almost double its original starting price. And let’s not even get into the Birkin bag. You know, the one that you’d shell out somewhere around $10,000 for (after making it through the waiting list, naturally)? Balmain has been known for $1,500+ pairs of jeans, and designer slip dresses can average around $2,000 for the most minimal variations. Although there’s an abundance of other things that can be bought with this kind of money, this isn’t a laundry list of potentially overpriced designer goods.

A while back, New York Magazine attacked the issue, analyzing the true cost of putting together that $2,000 dress (or a $2,300 black lace cocktail dress, to be more specific). The findings were broken down as:

Outer fabric for 3 yards @ $50 = $150

Lining for 3 yards @ $10 = $30

Buttons, zippers, hooks, etc. = $15

Misc. (labels, shipping, etc.) = $5

Labor (cutting, sewing, pressing, etc.) = $200

Manufacturer’s total first cost = $400

So, where do these over-the-top prices come from, and why is the price of fashion rising at such an exponential rate?

Well, there’s quite a lot that goes into the equation. For one, many luxury items come from the European market, and with taxes and import fees as well as the weak dollar-to-euro ratio, prices of various goods skyrocket. Meanwhile, design, materials, manufacturing, retail space, sales staff, marketing and advertising (and all of the things and workers involved in that process, from models to publicists…), and other elements contribute to the price tag of a single designer item. The fashion industry is essentially a world intertwined in its various facets, providing an interesting fact yet a horrifying way to watch prices pan out. All of those individual elements are growing more expensive, mainly due to the recent recession that terrorized the world economy. As raw materials used to produce goods are growing more scarce, the prices of said materials is drastically inflating. Meanwhile, according to the UN’s International Labour Organisation, labor costs in China and the rest of Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean have almost doubled in the past decade, while labor in developed centers such as France and Italy has never been higher.

Still, you’d think that retailers would lose money, as the average person wouldn’t be willing to buy a dress over a car or a coat over a house. But the main thing that’s driving these wild prices is actually the consumers themselves. According to the Capgemini management consultancy, the world’s high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) grew by 9.2 percent in 2012 to 12 million people, with combined assets of $46.2 trillion. These people probably love a little fashion, and designers will play that up to make their pieces more appealing. In other words, the rich are getting richer, and no one seems to be slowing down anytime soon.

This could easily turn into a larger debate on morality, but let’s not get into all that. Instead, let’s look on the bright side. Fashion is still a relatively diplomatic industry, and although many companies are turning back towards their more elitist roots, there are still plenty of opportunities for fashion lovers to get in on the action. Fast-fashion chains like Zara provide high-quality, stylish clothes for reasonable prices, while H&M’s designer collaborations allow consumers access to authentic high fashion at a lower price point.

While clothes are just meant to be wearable and practical, high fashion is intended to be somewhat of an escape or a fantasy of sorts. Fashion is an art form, and it’s meant to be admired, respected, and probably desired. But we’re not all capable of hanging an authentic Picasso painting in our foyers, just like we can’t all hang that pristine Prada fur coat in our closets. However, high style doesn’t have to come with a high price, while the high price doesn’t necessarily equate to high style. The prices of high fashion goods will continue to fluctuate, but what’s most important is gaining an individual sense of luxury through your own sense of style.

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Editor’s note:

Writing this piece was a bit of a learning experience, as I wasn’t fully aware of the many things that go into the process of producing and marketing luxury goods. Although I might just sound angry and “poor” based on this report, it was an interesting and enlightening research process. This isn’t necessarily the most positive side to fashion. However, learning even more about this always-fascinating industry further reminds me why I’m always in love with and inspired by it.

Information for this piece was gathered from articles featured on Fashionista, Jezebel, New York Magazine, and The Business of Fashion.

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HM

H&M Online Shop Finally Comes to U.S.

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It’s safe to say that H&M’s American customers have been anxiously awaiting the opening of their online shop to the U.S. market. It seems like the Swedish fashion giant has been putting off the e-commerce move for years, placing a heavier emphasis on opening more stores and expanding their already globally dominating presence. However, we can all rejoice now that we can get our favorite reasonably priced essentials without even having to put on pants. The site will include additional sizes and variations on their in-store items, as well as exclusive online-only pieces. Meanwhile, the highly anticipated Isabel Marant collection will be available on H&M’s website, too, as will all future coveted designer collaborations. That’s right, no more waking up at the crack of dawn to wait in line at H&M and face a stampede of crazed consumers. But that’s not all the brand has to offer.

As if H&M would ever have an issue getting traffic to their e-store, they’ve come up with a variety of fun and interactive promotional ideas. One of those is the “50 States of Fashion” contest, in which bloggers and other social media aficionados Instagram themselves in their favorite HM.com purchases for a chance to win a huge prize. Tagged with “HMShopOnlineXX” (the “XX” being the abbreviation for their respective state), applicants’ photos will be sent to a 50 States of Fashion adjunct page, where viewers can vote for their favorite looks. After two weeks, the most “liked” photos will be reviewed by a panel of judges, ultimately deciding who will win a $1,000 H&M shopping spree and a trip to an H&M New York Fashion Week event. Remember, this isn’t Barney’s we’re talking about; $1,000 at H&M can go pretty damn far. If that doesn’t show a fashion company taking advantage of the omnipresence of social media, we don’t know what does.

But of course, H&M won’t stop there. Adding to the always bustling events going on in New York’s meatpacking district, H&M will host their own party in the posh neighborhood on August 22. Featuring exclusive items from their recent Paris Show Collection, a Try-On-Lab, and a modern check-out system where customers will make purchases via iPads, H&M is truly taking futuristic fashion to the next level. Can’t make it to the August 22 event? No worries. All of the Paris Show Collection items will also be available on H&M’s website, because just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, H&M proved you wrong.

For all of the excited American H&M customers, be sure to go to HM.com to learn more about these awesome promotional activities and to check out (literally) some always-appealing pieces. Oh, and don’t forget about H&M’s home collection and mobile app! Yes, it just keeps improving.

 

Feature image courtesy of Babble

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Contrast in Wonderland

· Editorial · , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Opposites attract. We’ve seen this before. Black and white, day and night, a lush park in the midst of skyscrapers. The juxtaposition of high fashion ensembles with streetwear pieces creates a modern edge and youthful energy. Contrast can be inspiring and provocative, informing an urban Wonderland.

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This is the first editorial spread that I’ve created entirely on my own, of course with a substantial amount of help from my friends. The photos were taken from my camera with assistance from my friend Jerry, while I also styled the looks myself, planned the concept, and did a bit of postproduction revisions. There are few things more gratifying than seeing a project come together, and I will definitely be producing more of these pieces soon. I hope you enjoy!

The Queen of the Universe for H&M

· Celebrities, News · , , , ,

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Okay I’m a few days late, but in case you haven’t heard, Beyoncé is the face of H&M’s summer ad campaign. The absolute ruler of anything related to pop culture, Mrs. Carter is shot in typical goddess form by Inez & Vinoodh. The campaign also comes with a commercial directed by Jonas Åkerlund, which features Queen Bey’s new song, “Standing on the Sun.” Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait until May for the collection and for Beyoncé’s new single.