Designer high street collaborations were once the stuff that was practically worth gold. Consumers couldn't get enough of the product, especially as eBay merchants would queue up for days, buying as much stock as possible and subsequentlyselling it online with generous mark-ups. Remember trying to get hold of an H&M Comme des Garcons jacket or Stella McCartney dress?
But now, people have stopped buying the clothes, leaving eBay with a "graveyard" of unsold merchandise, Jillian Goodman at New York Magazine reports.
"The key to the high-low eBay dynamic was always demand outstripping supply — items selling out in store and people still wanting them — but now we're seeing what happens when that relationship tilts," Goodman writes. "As of this writing, a search on eBay for "neiman marcus target" turns up 2,571 listings, and the only ones with bids are selling below retail."
Merchants have been selling discount/designer collaborations on eBay since 2004, when Karl Lagerfeld collaborated with H&M. Retailers have become wiser over time, according to Goodman. Instead of offering so few items they're guaranteed to sell out, stores started adjusting to heavy demand by stocking up on inventory.
Today, when shoppers go to the store for a designer collaboration, there's plenty of choice. The scarcity that added perceived value to the collections before is not so relevant. Especially as the frequency of collaborations has hit an all time high. There is never a season, let alone a month, without a high street retailer announcing it is teaming up with a brand. H&M this season concurrently had collaborative product with Anna della Russo and Maison Marin Margiela. These came hot on the heels on it teaming up with Marni and Versace.
Image: H&M Maison Martin Margiela