The dos and don’ts of collabs

We are firmly in the age of the collab, with everyone from Lidl to Ikea launching limited edition product ranges with designers and celebrities. But do people still care about these link-ups? And what separates the good from the bad?

In 2004, H&M sent the fashion world into a frenzy when it announced its first high-end designer collaboration. Karl Lagerfeld – the creative at the helm of Chanel – had worked with the high street chain to design a range of limited edition pieces which were available in 20 locations worldwide. The collection sold out within a day, with one New York store reportedly shifting 2,000 products an hour.

At the time, the high-meets-low fashion collab was a fairly novel experience. And it was big news. Two years later, Topshop revealed its first collaboration with Kate Moss – a partnership that paved the way for a wave of joint ventures between brands and fashion influencers.

Now, it seems we have reached peak collab: Dolce & Gabbana has designed food mixers and kettles for Smeg, Victoria Beckham has teamed up with Target, Heidi Klum has created a fashion range for Lidl and Baliencaga has designed a range of Crocs – the footwear style once referred to in Netflix’s Queer Eye as “I’ve given up on life shoes”. Diesel has even launched a range of branded clothing with a Berlin Kebab shop. H&M has partnered with over a dozen designers and premium brands from Erdem to Balmain since working with Lagerfeld, and countless other affordable brands have looked to recreate its success by collaborating with luxe labels.


Milton Keynes