September, 23
by Mo Houston

Price wars – high luxe vs. the high street.

What is in a name? We ask if designer labels are worth the price tag...

Price wars – high luxe vs. the high street.

 Couture and the curbside.


There was once a time when designer clothing was passed on through generations, carefully tucked away and mothballed in anticipation of its fashion second coming. Today, luxe couture tells a very different story.

Not far removed from their fast fashion counterparts like Target and Zara, the hierarchy of designer status has changed, with only a few heritage brands staying true to their lifelong commitment to wearable luxe. So it begs the question, why pay more? 

Once reserved for the super-rich elite, couture ran the runways and the rest of us had to slum it is poorly made, anti-fashion outfits from independent retailers. But, since the inception of ready to wear collections first showcased by Dior and the Parisian style pack, fashion has gravitated towards the masses, creating off the catwalk looks for the savvy fashionista.

Whilst established design moguls like Chanel, Burberry and YSL still reign supreme, holding prêt à porter to ransom with its conceptual spin and hefty price tags, some brands aren't as discerning. Happy to make a quick buck and side sweep the ethical thin ice of working with curbside goliaths like H&M, designers like Karl Lagerfeld and Alexander Wang are descending to off the rack collaborations, igniting a high-low retail trend far removed from the comfortable confines of Rue Saint Honoré.



* Valentino for GAP

Blurring the boundaries between haute couture and the high street, designer collaborations have left the fashion hungry public wondering, what is the worth of a label? As many big names drop the prices (and quality) of their garments to cast their net further into the style stratosphere, where do we draw the line between mass-produced and mass appeal?

 Donning our Chanel cashmere twin sets and Birkin bag as we look out onto the fashion landscape, can we only rely on the purist fashion houses to uphold the good name of the designer through the mass market mire and on towards the sunset? 

* Jill Sander for Uniqlo

Let us know what you think about designer labels in today's competitive fashion market.


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