The clash between sustainability and affordable fashion

Fast fashion giant and design house to release collaborative collection

This collection in a few words: a step back.

Fast fashion giant H&M has announced its latest collaborative collection, this time with Paris designer brand Mugler. The highly anticipated collection is sure to create waves in the fashion world with its goal to democratize fashion with no regard to sustainability. 

This collaboration has fans of Mugler who engage in conscious consumption at odds with their values for sustainable fashion and in many cases, capitalist strategy will likely beat out morality. Part of the allure of couture and high fashion designs is the careful construction of their pieces, produced with an eye for art rather than exploitation and microplastics. 

The sleek couture designs from Mugler have been worn by some of the world’s most famous people and have left a profound legacy on the world of fashion with their contrasting silhouettes that accentuate the body. Yet, what’s being produced by this newest collaboration is largely reminding viewers of Fashion Nova. 

Mugler is among the highest of Paris fashion elite, founded in 1973 by Thierry Mugler. The brand’s work has occupied museum spaces and ornamented icons like David Bowie. Unprecedented growth over the last three years has led to this moment where design thinking turns corporate in hopes of capitalizing on heightened public interest.

Unfortunately, cutouts require meticulous construction to maintain a structured look—Mugler’s allure turns sour when coupled with fast fashion.

The campaign video for the collaboration can best be described as distracting, jumping between scenes in jarring shifts. The first 40 seconds of the video are cool, but after that the video loses you—it’s clear the creative directors were trying to do everything all at once. It feels cheap and falls short of the sentiments the Mugler brand’s edgy, yet sophisticated looks they usually put out.

Most fashion lovers find themselves simply asking why? Why this partnership and why now? Democratizing fashion means little in the face of a money-grab to make a profit—the collaboration is, quite frankly, tacky and not the right move for Mugler. 

Perhaps this is an overstatement, as it’s a commendable task to want designs to be enjoyed by the masses. However, it’s also an overarching statement that lifts any burdens of responsibility off the producer in the name of a self-righteous goal, ultimately paying off corporate elites and drawing consumers further into the fast fashion cycle. 

This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t buy from this collection if you want to; rather, it’s a call to be cognizant of how the industry challenges ethical and sustainable notions and creates an awareness for conscious consumerism. 

Unfortunately, sustainability is seeming to be more of a passing fad rather than a necessary shift in how we approach participating in economic structures.


Clothing, Fashion, Sustainability, sustainable fashion

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