Look! It’s another mass-retailer/designer collaboration!! In case you hadn’t heard already (it’s been ALL OVER THE INTERNETS!), this Spring, Swedish Hasbeens will do a line for H&M. And as with the Mulberry X Target collaboration, the blogosphere is all abuzz and excited about getting their Swedish Hasbeens fix for well under $100.
Swedish Hasbeens prides itself on being “environmentally friendly” and for producing heirloom quality shoes. Shoes that will last forever, based on old Swedish styles, shoes that you can pass on to your daughter when she’s old enough to wear them. When you pay $250+ for a pair of their shoes, you’re paying for the quality, the design, THE STORY, the natural materials they use and the traditional production methods.
I can’t quite figure out, based on the press release, if they intend to maintain their traditional methods and environmentally friendly (chrome-free & veg. tanned leathers) materials to produce the line for H&M – but really how could they?
“We have a strong belief in making better shoes for a better world. We want to make fashion more fun, creative and friendly to both the environment and people. We have loved designing for H&M! It’s a fantastic opportunity to spread the idea of Hasbeens and make these shoes available to more people around the world,” says Emy Blixt, founder and designer of Swedish Hasbeens.
My question for Emy is How exactly is this spreading the idea of Hasbeens? it’s spreading the idea of CHEAP Hasbeens for H&M. After buying a pair for $69 via H&M, why would someone then later purchase a pair for $250 via Endless or Swedish Hasbeens own website? Would you?
Maybe Swedish Hasbeens’ high price isn’t justified, maybe it is. But after this H&M collaboration, it will NEVER be justified again. If, as they say, they will continue to use eco-friendly materials to produce their shoes for H&M (still not sure about this), how will they EVER be able to justify charging more than $100 for their clogs again? (What would you be paying more for then?) Yes, they will sell A LOT of shoes via H&M which does justify charging less for them, but not that much less, assuming they’re using comparable materials. They’ll be mass-produced, which will cut down on costs also, but I was under the impression that Swedish Hasbeens took pride in the fact that their clogs are produced traditionally. I THOUGHT that and their environmental ethics was key to their business operations, and I’m sure it’s a big reason many people choose to purchase Swedish Hasbeens in spite of the cost.
If they’re willing to sacrifice their core company ethics for money, I’m not sure I’m willing to support them anymore. The problem is everyone is doing it. No6 did it, Rachel Comey did it…but those companies aren’t built around the notion of quality, natural materials & traditional processes. Swedish Hasbeens was.
I am tired, tired, tired of independent designers thinking they have to do a mass-produced, diluted line with big-box retailers to be successful; to make MONEY. Sure, they’re going to make a BOATLOAD more money with this collaboration, but as far as I could tell, Swedish Hasbeens wasn’t doing too bad on their own. DO NOT tell me this is all in the name of some altruistic notion of “bringing fashion to the masses of people who can’t normally afford it”. PLEASE. The designers are trying to make a bit (a lot actually) more money. That’s it.
And ultimately, there’s nothing wrong with trying to make more money, I am just disappointed they are going about it this way; diluting their message and their brand to sell more shoes. Overall, I’m also tired of every fashion editor and blogger’s knee-jerk sickeningly-positive response to every single designer collaboration: “oh look at company x, doing the good work of bringing affordable fashion to the masses. yay them.” It’s a slap in the face to the consumers who buy quality over quantity, and a joke to the consumers who don’t care. Why should we try to encourage them to pay more for good stuff when the same designers who make the “good stuff” are selling inferior stuff through mass-retailers? Where are the ethics?
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What do you think? (give it to me!!)