Alexander Wang x H&M’s gone wrong workout line

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In this day and age, we live in a culture of fast-fashion. Stores like Forever 21 are popping up in every shopping mall and plaza and are making big bucks from selling low price items in the most “of-the-moment’ trends.

In this market of trendy and inexpensive fashion, European powerhouse H&M; is the most prominent leaders in the fast-fashion pack. The Swedish company is ranked the second largest global clothing retailer and has over 3,300 stores in 55 countries.

One thing that truly separates this company from its competitors though is its collaborations with the top names in fashion. Beginning with collaboration with Karl Lagerfeld in 2004, H&M; has created collections with fashion icons such as Marni, Stella McCartney and last year Isabel Marant.

So who did the H&M; tap for a partnership this winter? None other than Alexander Wang, of course. Wang is a fashion industry favorite and one of the most applauded designers, even at such a young age of only 30 years old. In his short career, the designer has multiple design awards under his belt and has his two namesake brands Alexander Wang and T by Alexander Wang.

Even more impressive, in 2012 Wang was named the creative director of Balenciaga, becoming the first designer to attempt to run two fashion houses since John Galliano’s 2011 stress implosion, as well as the first American designer in over a decade to run a French house.

For the designer’s upcoming collaboration with H&M;, Wang designed a line of edgy work out wear, full of black and gray tone sport attire.

When I first heard of the line, I was thrilled that one of my favorite designers was coming out with my favorite kind of clothing. Unfortunately, upon flipping through the look book, I have a few qualms about the designer’s line.

Let’s start with the accessories. Wang has something for every kind of workout and will have anyone prepared to break a sweat. There is a yoga mat and towel for those that are Bikram yoga inclined; boxing gloves and a metal water bottle for those looking to relive some tension with a boxing bag; swim goggles and a whistles ring for those wanting to swim laps; and a knit beanie and sunglasses for those hitting the slopes this winter. Throw any or all of these accessories into one of the five tote bags, which come in everything from a leather backpack to scuba material tote.

Next, the line features an extensive variety of clothing options. There is a series of sport bras that can double as a crop top at night, ranging from v-neck to multi strap selections. There are numerous different kinds of workout tops, including classic razor back tank tops, perforated long sleeve tops, and scuba material sweatshirts. To finish these tops off, there are different kinds of workout leggings and a pair of jeans with a printed design on them. And for those living in the areas that tend to turn into a tundra in winter, there are several coats and jacket to keep you warm.

Finally, to outfit your feet, there is a pair of slip-on sandals, high top sneakers and a variety of heeled booties.

When Wang created this line, he clearly when for the variety of items, but in turn forgot to give their appearance variety. In a collection of over fifty items, all but two pieces consist of strictly black, grey or white. While I am all for some great neutrals, in place of color or design or any other decoration, Wang instead chose to plaster his last name all over every singe piece.

From sport bras to leggings to a knit dress, each piece is littered with the whole word “Wang” or just the letters “AW.” In the end, instead of trendy pieces, this line looks more like a trashy walking billboard for the designer. Brand recognition can be a beautiful thing, but there is a fine line between recognition and in-your-face, and this collection has sprinted across that line.

Finally, this line is on the pricier end of designer collaborations, especially H&M; offerings, so you would think the materials would be better than what this line features. While about half of the collection is in decent looking leather, the other half is in the fabric of all evils – scuba. I don’t care how tastefully it is done or what designer stamped their name on it, scuba material is meant for the ocean and only the ocean. Wang made this the highlight fabric of his collection, featuring everything from scuba high top sneakers to scuba sweatshirts.

When I first heard about this line, I was excited – I love Alexander Wang and I love workout clothing, so what could go wrong? This line so gaudy with the designer’s name and constructed with unfortunate fabrics to make items really no one needs or wants – yes, I am talking about the whistle ring.

I am disappointed, especially after Isabel Marant’s great line last time H&M; paired up with a renowned designer. Needless to say, you won’t find me lined up outside of the store on Thursday, Nov. 6, and I’m not sure how many other people will be there either with this kind of a lookbook.

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