Monday, October 16, 2006

Rizalman for Tesco... Could that be true?

In America and Europe, the trend of high-profile designers making bucks by collaborating and designing for hypermarts or mega clothing stores has been seen as a sort of trend.

For instance, designers Stella McCartney and Karl Lagerfeld's design for H&M generated millions of bucks with their respective collection sold less than a week!

In the US, designer Isaac Mizrahi made his comeback after a long hiatus from the fashion world (his comic foray was a disaster!) by designing for Target, America's biggest mass retailer. Instead of the huge price tags, lower-range income shoppers could pull a deep breath as they don't have to pay about $1500 for an Isaac Mizrahi trench coat.

Cueing from the collection success, Target embarked on a campaign called GO International by featuring European designers such as Luella Bartley, Paul and Joe and the upcoming Behnaz Sarafpour designing for the retail giant at a fraction of the designer boutique price.

In the hype of creating designer pieces at hypermarket prices, many fashion insiders are afraid that the designer's credibility and quality will be questioned. This is due to a certain perception that a couture designer will always have to design for the upclass ranges and designing for the lower to middle income ranges is seen as an unforgivable sin for the haute couture community. It's like John Galliano designing for ASDA... whoa, only God knows that!
According to Wirda Adnan, the editor of GLAM, Malaysia's prolific fashion magazine, in my recent interview, what Karl Lagerfeld did for H&M is actually based on his artistic rights.
One can't expect him to design for Chanel for the rest of his life and his decision to collaborate with H&M, one of Europe's biggest clothing mass retailer does not only generate profit for both parties, but it also raised his credibility and repertoire as one of the world's best fashion designers.
So my dear Malaysian fashionistas, should we prompt either Tesco, Carrefour or Giant to engage our local renowned designers like Rizalman, Tom Abang Saufi or Farah Khan to come out with a series of collection that is affordable and can be owned by people from all walks of life? Hmm, when I think about Tom Abang Saufi's batik caftan at RM 60.00 compared to its current tag of RM 600.00, who wouldn't want to miss it for the world!

*Photo courtesy of Target and unidentified source

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