The dumbing down of Jimmy Choo

Posted in High Street Fashion by Nneoma Ulu on November 19, 2009

My views on affordable fashion are changing. Last week, I was lucky enough to attend a VIP preview of Jimmy Choo for H&M with fellow blogger, mediacation. I had seen a lot of the collection online and in magazines with the aggressive PR push of Tamara Mellon ahead of the launch so more or less knew what to expect… not a lot. That did not stop the hoards of shoppers queuing and beating each other up to get to a cheaper version of the brand’s famous shoes.

Jimmy Choo for H&M via Daily Mail online

Tamara Mellon made an effort to create a full offering for H&M customers, including mens and womenswear alongside the shoes and bags that Jimmy Choo is more famous for. Her effort is commendable, the end products, however, not so much. The shoes looked cheap and not very well made and just didn’t have anything special about them ast all. This then begs the question – are people buying it because they like it or because it’s a cheaper version of the real deal? But with shoppers putting their purchases up on eBay and flogging them for double the price, it seems that the real deal is the better option.

Jimmy Choo for H&M shoes - cheap or chic?

I stand behind Christian Louboutin’s decision to turn down an H&M collaboration. It is not so much that it devalues the brand but it is more that there is nothing special about a watered down version of something that is supposed to be luxurious. Buying designer means buying high quality, long-lasting goods that can be treasured for years. High street is about disposable fashion – buy a trend, wear the trend, throw it away when the trend gets old. More and more it seems that the wonderful idea  H&M started off with in 2004 collaborating with Karl Lagerfeld has become a little distorted as designers have realised that it can be great for business and shoppers seem to buy into anything.

Karl Lagerfeld for H&M

With H&M collaborations in the past, there seemed to be some sense of exclusivity. The pictures were not everywhere.  The stock was limited. There was no in-you-face ad campaign. Just a simple belief from customers, that the designer would use H&M as a channel to provide their clothes to a wider audience. Karl Lagerfeld did a pretty good job, Stella McCartney did it very well, after that Cavalli and Matthew Williamson took a stab and that’s when things started changing. It seems that it is less about what the designer can do for H&M’s usual customer and more about what an H&M collaboration can do for the designer and for me, that is reflected in the clothes on the rails.

Next up for H&M is Sonia Rykiel, starting with a lingerie line next month, followed by a full line earlier next year. I am a little more excited about this having seen the ad campaign. I wonder whether Sonia will get it right?

Sonia Rykiel for H&M ad campaign via nitrolicious


5 Responses

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  1. Andreeks said, on November 20, 2009 at 10:33 am

    I’m pretty sure the effect in real life to the designer and to the brand is minimal. The shoes/clothes end up looking nothing like the original and for the price of a regular pair of shoes at office you can have something that ‘looks’ a little more luxurious. I love these collaborations I’ve been to all of them, but I’m a hardcore H & M fan, so for me its not even about the designer but more about getting something a bit nicer and a bit different for the same price I’d be buying something in H & M. I have a ruffled shirt from the roberto Cavalli collaboration that I absolutely LOVE and people always think its designer (well it is but at £34.99 its more like H & M). I doubt any of Jimmy Choos regular clientele would ever sport the H & M version of the shoes and people like myself would never shop in Jimmy Choo (I find the idea of spending more than £100 on a pair of shoes thoroughly reprehensible) I do however love Sonia Rykiel but I’m not in the slight bit phased that she’s jumping on the H&M bandwagon as long as she doesn’t try and remake none of the bloody items I’ve bought from her at regular price for H &M its all good.

  2. S said, on November 20, 2009 at 10:37 am

    I feel identically. Designers doing high street lines isn’t necessarily bad but I have been deeply blah about most of them. Jimmy Choo is a very conservative brand that is all about quality construction and materials; it can’t be replicated in a satisfying way on the high street. Sonia Rykiel on the other hand I think will work because a lot of her clothes are about clever colour, wit and charm and interesting design can be knocked off. I don’t think the underwear looks very exciting but I’m looking forward to the clothes a LOT.

  3. mediacation said, on November 21, 2009 at 1:47 am

    Like Andreeks, I have really mixed opinions on this too. Yes, I love the accessibility aspect of these collaborations, but if it is at the cost of quality, then it is something else altogether. The “gift” at the VIP launch was tacky and the button barely clicks in. NOT a sign of the rest of the accessories from the collaboration being of worthwhile quality. As a guy, I’d rather buy a £5 H&M plain t-shirt that lasts, whether it be collaboration material or not, than something that fell apart after five minutes because at some point in time, a designer signed it off as part of the high-street collection. From a PR perspective, these collabs are ingenious, as proved by sales following the Matthew Williamson for H&M range.

  4. […] fears of a collaboration with Ugg and the H&M collection that I wasn’t too fond of, I have to admit that when Jimmy Choo do what they know best… luxury –  it really works. […]

  5. […] McCartney wrap dress and Karl Lagerfeld denim courtesy of H&M but of late (I’m thinking Jimmy Choo and Lanvin), it seems the bigger the designer, the poorer the quality. Topshop, however, may have […]

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