So, Alexa Chung, the epitome of British cool, is collaborating with M&S for a collection called Archive by Alexa Chung which will launch in April.
On its own website, Marks & Spencer breathlessly describe it as “the biggest collaboration to hit the British high street.” The website also states: “This exciting new collection, curated by style icon Alexa Chung and the M&S design team, features 31 pieces from the Marks and Spencer company archive brought back to life with a modern spin.”
The style icon herself, comments: “I have always had an affection for Marks & Spencer. I am thrilled to be part of this special and unique project.” And we feel sure she is not lending her name and “talent” for free.
Ms Chung is very stylish, very chic and according to M&S a style icon, which we don’t dispute. And, of course, she has mega-numbers of followers on social media platforms including Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and the rest. And we suppose that a few of the cool people who follow her on social media may take a fresh look at M&S; but is even Ms Chung’s input enough to get them to buy from the High Street giant?
If the sole objective was column inches, then inviting Ms Chung is a brilliant move but if it is sales, M&S may have made the wrong choice. We feel sure that if KFC invited Michel Roux to create some new recipes, a handful of foodies would visit to sample them. The press would certainly report it widely. But would it make us all flock (no pun intended) to KFC when we were planning a meal out? We seriously doubt it.
We are, of course, aware of the success of High Street collaborations including those by Gap and H&M, which has worked with a slew of top international designers including Marni and Lanvin. But M&S is not H&M, despite the presence of an “M” and an ampersand in both their names. They serve a different demographic, though there is some overlap – mainly among the fashionable over-50s. And while we may have queued for the Lagerfeld and Versace collections at H&M (Jan certainly did), will we, or anyone else, queue for Archive by Alexa Chung?
In our view, part of the problem for M&S is too many innovations and abrupt about-turns in their clothing ranges. What is needed, along with fashionable, good quality clothing is consistency and dependability, so that the M&S core customer can again learn to rely on M&S for high fashion and high quality.
Indeed, M&S may have done better to invite SoSensational to collaborate and look through its archive. SoSensational does, after all, cater for the M&S core customer. It would probably garner zilch in column inches, but it may result in brilliant sales…
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What do you think about M&S’ collab with Alexa Chung – hit or miss? Let us know below…