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Highstreet/Designer Crossover Alert: Debenhams

Another month, yet another highstreet/designer collaboration. This time PREEN, Jonathan Saunders, Roksanda Ilincic AND Jonathan Kelsey are each producing a series of capsule collections for Debenhams, and with prices ranging from only £18 to £190, in theory, this is sure to be a hit with fashion lovers on a budget. But let’s not get too excited just yet, we’ve been down this path before and it doesn’t always end well – Julien Macdonald for Debenhams anyone?

Unfortunately we’ve already heard the tell-tale spiel. The clothing will be “wearable” and “accessible” and will suit everyone, which is usually code for “bland” and “pedestrian”. Of course the designers have released statements promising to maintain their brand integrity; according to Kelsey“the DNA of my mainline (is) at the heart of the design”. But that remains to be seen.

Sorry for the cynicism. I am excited (who wouldn’t be excited by the prospect of owning a piece of Llincic for under £20). But I’ve just seen too many fashion brands dilute their aesthetic in order make clothing that has mass appeal - with pretty underwhelming results. That’s not to say that there haven’t been some brilliant collaborations (Mark Fast for Topshop to name a recent one) but far too many have been pretty average.

The concept, entitled Edition, won’t be available online and in stores until Spring 2011. Let’s hope it’s worth the wait.

- Scarlet Hirst



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