Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Don't Believe the Hype

If you read fashion blogs regularly, they always make a big deal about Target's Go International collections. These lines, featured at Targets for a limited amount of time, are designed (supposedly) by big-name designers who are much more likely to be seen on the pages of Vogue than in a store that also sells dog food. In theory, this is an awesome idea- after all, Target goes after designers like Proenza Schouler and Behnaz Sarafpour who don't even have cheaper lines and are really high end. Ditto for H&M's Viktor + Rolf collection- most people could never afford something by the quirky, avant-garde design team, so it sounds like a great opportunity.

However, the problem is that when one actually goes to Target or H&M to look at these clothes, they often just end up blending into the rest of the stuff Target sells, if not looking even worse. For instance, the above three looks, from the Proenza collection, look more like they came from Sears- the v-neck striped sweater is simply awful, the jeans are ill-fitting and too low, and the polo shirt- do we need another polo? Where is the great design? Where is the innovation? Where is the risky, high-fashiony look I can't usually find new at these prices? Even though stores like Forever 21 (and you know, Target) manage to make cute and innovative designs on a small budget, these designer-designed lines usually have only a few decent pieces at best, most of which are impossible to find anyway. What's more, the pieces often look cheap and poorly made, using fabrics like polyester to mimic satin or silk instead of working with a more humble cotton- for instance the side stripe on these pants. It's as if whoever designed it didn't realize that what may look classy on a $500 piece may end up looking cheesy with cheaper materials.

Do the designers even design this stuff? Did the guys from Proenza Schouler really sit down and think, "How about a white v-neck sweater with some lines across it, like everyone wore in 1996?" I don't know. All I know is, next time Jean Paul Gaultier designs a collection for Montgomery Ward or whatever, I won't come a runnin'.

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