Thursday, 4 October 2012

5 Tips to Shopping Retailer-Designer Collaborations

If you have been following my blog for a while you know that statement necklaces are my THING. I’ve been very excited and eagerly awaiting the launch of Japanese Vogue Editor’s Anna Dello Russo accessories collaboration with H&M which hit stores today. Given that I’ve only been to three of these highly publicized designer-retailer collaborations, I am by no means an expert, but I thought I would share some tips and tricks that I have picked up from my last couple of experiences:

1) Make a list of “MUST HAVE” items

In my experience, brands like H&M and Target will showcase each item and its retail price on their website before they launch the collection in store. Visiting the website is a good way to start getting familiar with the line. Looking at pictures and videos from the launch party is a good way to get an accurate representation of how the pieces look in motion or on a person. My "must have" lists tend to start very long, but usually dwindles down as I continue to think about it. The best tip I can give is to think about whether you would purchase an item if it weren't a collaboration piece. Often times, we get clouded by the designer name but in reality, everything on your “must have” list should be something you love and would wear regardless of the brand.  

2) Arrive early and wait

On launch day, most retailers will open earlier than normal and only select stores will carry the entire collaboration. I would recommend calling your local store to ask whether they will be holding the collection and what time they will be opening their doors. The time you should arrive at the store depends on the anticipation and popularity of the designer. I personally wouldn't go to any launch less than an hour before the scheduled time - my logic is that I would rather wait longer beforehand than risk not getting the item I want. Often times the retailer will give coupons, merchandise and beverages to those in line to make the wait more tolerable. If you are going with a couple of friends, you could take turns waiting but I would recommend grabbing a coffee and waiting together, the line will go much faster and you will have a lot more fun this way. 

3) Try everything on

This one  may be obvious, but in the moment you might feel compelled to run to the cashier instead of waiting in the change room line. Personally, I would take the time to try EVERYTHING on before you purchase. You have already come this far, you might as well make sure that everything fits. It’s also a good opportunity to assess the quality of the merchandise. If it’s itchy, threading or damaged I would not buy it, regardless if it is a designer-collaboration piece. If you arrive early enough, you won’t have to worry about long change-room lines. When I buy accessories, I always open the box and examine them before purchasing.

4) Don’t go off your list

In the heat of the moment you may be tempted to go off your “must have” list. I have been guilty of this a couple of times and weeks later, I start to regret it. With the hype, chaos and adrenaline associated with launch day, it’s not surprising that a lot of people fall victim of the “limited supply” way of thinking and start to buy stacks of items you never really wanted in the first place. If I can offer any advice, I would recommend staying as close to your original list as possible. You put a lot of time thinking about which items you really want, so don’t throw it out the window on launch day. After the adrenaline goes away, the things you really love are likely going to be the same items you originally put on your list.  In many cases, you will only be given a limited amount of time to browse so sticking to your list will allow you to get everything you want and come within budget.

5) Keep items and boxes in mint condition

If you decide you don’t want to keep an item past the return date, you always have an opportunity to sell it on eBay or Craigslist. Even if you don’t plan to sell the item, I would recommend trying to do your best at keeping your items and merchandise boxes in mint condition for resale value just in case you change your mind. Although it may seem business savvy to buy duplicates of items to sell online to recoup some of the cost, selling these pieces at or for more than their retail value is not a guarantee since it’s hard to know what pieces from the collection will be in high demand after the fact.


This may seem very formal and strategic but at the end of the day, just have fun with it. Bring a friend who loves fashion just as much as you do and you can both share in the experience. The last time I went to one of these events, I met a bunch of cool people in the fashion industry waiting in line so don’t forget to socialize with the others while waiting. I wrote about my experience with previous designer-collaborations I attended here and here. Please let me know if you end up picking anything up and good luck to everyone going! 

Thanks for following and happy shopping!

Photo Credit: Vogue News

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