From a designer’s perspective, the positives are clear: H&M offers extensive exposure, including press coverage, and a solid marketing budget. Prince and Nicki Minaj performed at a party celebrating their Versace collaboration in 2011. Sofia Coppola directed a commercial for Marni Collection in 2012, as did Baz Luhrmann for Erdem in 2017.
It can be personally profitable for them as well. The Times reports that Stella McCartney and Mr. Lagerfeld each earned $1 million for their collaboration. “And in a lot of cases, in addition to that, there’s some sort of royalty or revenue share at the top,” said Mark Beckmann, whose ad firm DMA United has brokered fashion collaborations that include Gucci, LeSportsac and NBA H&M. agreements with designers.
However, some designers, such as Rick Owens, have spoken out against working with fast-fashion companies, citing concerns about waste and wasteability—an image that H&M has spent years working to shake off.
Here, the designers offer a positive side for H&M: the “halo effect,” as Mr. Beckmann puts it.
“Some people will still be interested in environmental concerns,” he said, “regardless of these first-order types of ambitious collaborations.” “But a lot of people will look the other way so they can get a luxury piece.”
Democratization or mitigation?
A decade ago, Jessica Y. Flores waited all night for an H&M’s Versace collaboration in a midtown Manhattan boutique. She said she sat on the sidewalk, remembering that it was so cold outside that people took turns warming up inside a nearby pharmacy.
She was there because she had grown into a Versace fan. “But I was a first-generation American, and I come from a working-class family,” said Ms. Flores, now 36. “Buying high-end luxury to wear it wasn’t something I could afford. I heard about this collection, and I said, ‘Oh, I can buy this.'”