The irrationality of ‘Masstige’
After Karl Lagerfeld, Lanvin, Isabel Marant or Versace, Alexander Wang is the most recent designer who created a capsule collection for H&M. Released on November 6th, the Alexander Wang x H&M collection reminds us of the brand’s unique sporty DNA.
What is “Masstige”?
The word “masstige” comes from the combination between “mass market” and “prestige”. It designates a commercial association between a great designer or luxury brand and a fast fashion brand such as H&M.
The first designer who created a masstige collection was Karl Lagerfeld in 2004 for H&M. At that time, he claimed he agreed to this assignment to give people the opportunity to “afford a universe”, the usually inaccessible universe of luxury.
Since then, famous luxury brands as Jimmy Choo, Roberto Cavalli and now Alexander Wang followed to create their masstige collections for H&M.
Masstige is an upside down snobbism, giving people the opportunity to buy products created by designers they like. However, isn’t this just an illusion?
Price and rarity are the two pillars that define a luxury product. They also usually guarantee the high quality of the product. Brands above-mentioned built their image around these pillars.
So when people buy goods from a masstige collection, they actually buy a name and a logo more than something luxurious.
Moreover, designers that launch masstige collections agree with producing clothes and accessories at low prices, meaning at a very different level of quality they work and deliver with their own brand. They get a chance to become even more famous, but at what price? Isn’t there a risk to tarnish the image of their brand?
Miuccia Prada has for instance declared that she would never take part in a masstige collaboration. According to her, she reasons that there is no interest for a brand in selling copies of their “it-products” at a low quality.
With masstige, luxury brands lose their essence because they lose their elitist side and don’t use their know-how. They just take advantage of a commercial opportunism.