By guest blogger Grace Benac
To the average Ryerson student saddled with OSAP debt, buying couture creations could be an unattainable dream or just plain irresponsible. However, a recent trend in the retail industry is making high-ends available for low-end prices.
On November 20, GTA fashionistas flocked to select H&M stores in hopes of scoring a piece from the Lanvin <3 H&M collection, their collaboration with Lanvin. Like Rodarte for Target, and previous designer H&M collections with the likes of Karl Lagerfeld and Comme des Garçons, the prices were lower than those of the designers’ runway label. Dresses were priced from about $150 to $300, while shoes were in the $100 range.
Designer collections at H&M tend to sell out on the day they launch. Lanvin was no exception, as a walk through the ravaged Eaton Centre location revealed.
The phenomenon of lower-priced designer collections is especially alluring to students for, according to Frances Gunn, a retail management instructor at the Ted Rogers School of Business.
“It’s a smart strategy for targeting students – the limited time offer creates an incentive to buy because it creates a notion of scarcity, which contributes to customers’ inclination to purchase. So even though our students may be feeling the end of semester pinch, they will find the limited time offer appealing,” said Gunn.
Even though second year radio and television arts student Waseem Shaikh was impressed by the Lanvin collection, he predicted that its offbeat vibe would limit the market to a certain clientele.
“The clothes were very playful and bohemian chic,” says Shaikh. “But the thing is, their aesthetic is likely to appeal to a very specific market. It’s that preppy geek style that references old eras from the 20’s to the 50’s.”
The launch of Lanvin was predicted to be so popular that the H&M location at the Eaton Centre gave out wristbands to those who lined up, assigning them specific time slots during which they could come back and check out the collection. Unfortunately, this strategy didn’t work out so well for those who received wristbands for the last timeslot at 1:00. Among them was second year journalism student Natalie Ast.
“I made the effort to wake up early and line up, but by the time 1:00 rolled around most of the collection, including a bracelet I really wanted, was sold out,” says Ast.
Ast was especially excited because of the popularity of Alber Elbaz, the designer behind Lanvin, in fashion circles.
“Other than Karl Lagerfeld, Lanvin is the first really couture brand to do a collection for H&M.”
The Eaton Centre location maintained a party atmosphere on the day of the launch, insisting that their employees wear flower-embroidered t-shirts and even hiring a DJ for the occasion. Although she didn’t buy anything from the Lanvin collection, (everything had sold out by the time she arrived) Dutch exchange student Dana Hoogkamer was impressed by the extra effort.
“The atmosphere in there was great! The DJ and everything really paid off,” says Hoogkamer, who attends school in Burlington.
In spite of not finding what she wanted, Ast still gives the Lanvin collection an overall thumbs-up.
“It was the best since Karl Lagerfeld,” says Ast.
Photo by Allyssia Alleyne