Balmain’s H&M collaboration only goes up to a size 12, and there’s simply no sense in it.
The story of Balmain, the brand that rolls a million Instagram followers deep, is about hawt celebutantes sprawled out on top of each other. We get it. Balmain digs famous people. The Kardashians have had a heavy hand in making Balmain incredibly popular. From their lieuwk, you’d think the line was all couture nightlife people all the time. Except it isn’t.
What sells for Balmain? The Fashion Law just reported it’s the cheaper stuff, the H&M collaboration, the goods for the masses. That’s where they really make money, which is why it’s so odd that the fake gold-encrusted H&M collection was limited to the same boring old size range. To be fair, even Sophie Theallet, which cast Candice Huffine on the runway (yay!) also only goes up to a size 12, (not yay.) But Balmain’s reluctance to include everyone is even more surprising.
Most importantly, Balmain’s designer, Olivier Rousteing, has been an effective activist for racial diversity. But why not hold Olivier accountable for dressing more sizes as well? Because seriously, how hard would it be?
The argument against making more sizes is often the designer’s fear that the looks wouldn’t be doing the customer justice. You could say that Balmain’s occasionally boring sexy Sergeant Pepper uniforms are a bit of a design challenge for all women. I don’t think Balmain’s stuff looks all that groundbreaking, which is a testament to the celebrity endorsements that seem to be happening 24/7. But if done right, Balmain in more sizes would reward the significant number of people who love it.
Certainly the more garish getups with all the cutouts and gold whozeewhatsits galore aren’t must-haves for the straight market either. But why can’t dude get more creative with the designs as well? Other brands are already doing a remarkably good job of this. The smart approach for the label would be not only more sizes, but different kinds of designs. One way to go would be to find out what people are actually buying in the size 12’s and pay attention. Designers often tell us are their larger sizes sell like glow sticks at a rave.
There’s overwhelming evidence that when you include women of all sizes, people like it, and people pay. Market analysts over at NPD have talked about how businesses who don’t get down with all of the bods are suicidal. So the demand isn’t only coming from women who have always been ready to dress hot. It’s coming from business dudes who know what’s up. Given the stats, stopping at this limited range for all the fangirls who aren’t loaded reveals a major blind spot.
Asked about his stance on fast fashion, Olivier is all for being ripped off by Zara. We all remember when Nasty Gal embarrassingly took credit for Taylor Swift’s semi-boring jumpsuit when it was actually Balmain—not the Nasty Gal knockoff. But the designer is cool with all of this, which is why he should be beating the fast companies who knock him off to the punch with lower-priced options, but for everybody.
We all know that women who wear larger sizes will drop major cash on the finer things in life. And people really turned out for the Christmas ornament-looking garb in the H&M collabo. When you combine this with the number of people who make up this market, surely the House of Balmain should recognize that they should spend some time dressing women other than Kim Kardashian.
Talk amongst yourselves.