Last week, Vetements announced a new collaboration with Tommy Hilfiger and officially evoked even more nineties nostalgia than even I—the queen of reliving 1995-1999—could imagine.
“We agreed to do it because we think it’s such a cool brand and think it would be an incredible collaboration,” Hilfiger said to WWD. “I was very excited. What they’ve done is quite genius. They have their own rule book. They do what they want and do it when and how they want.”
And that, my friends, is how I also like to be described.
But collaborations are great and we love them and none of you need me to go on about them because if we weren’t jacked about brands linking up, none of us would get so excited about H&M’s limited-edition collections that I have never actually been able to shop because they sell out so quickly.
Which brings me to my next point: limited edition nineties-inspired collections are breaking my heart. Why are you doing this to us, brands?
I ask because I woke up on July 1 to learn that Club Monaco had re-introduced a limited-edition nineties capsule collection via a campaign that starred Alicia Silverstone, Selma Blair, and Justin Chambers. It was available only in a few stores, online (but for like, a second), and it sold out in record time—much like Gap’s dalliance with its nineties collection back in late winter, which was as beautiful as it was in-demand. Ultimately, if you didn’t get to it within a week, you weren’t getting to it at all.
Which would be great, if there were new installments to take its place. (Think: Rihanna’s collab with Puma, which brings new pieces every season.) Instead, for a fleeting moment, we’re reminded that our favourite clothes existed again for a few seconds before being exactly as unavailable as they were ten minutes prior. And if older brands are still trying to maintain relevance in an increasingly saturated/DIY-centric/vintage market, this is as bad for them as it is for us. Why wouldn’t you just give us what we want?
There’s nothing wrong with doing something well. In the nineties, Gap and Club Monaco embodied the clean, minimalist aesthetic that complemented the decade’s zest for patterns, prints, and bright pops of colour. And now, they don’t. Which isn’t bad! They’re living their lives, they’re doing their own thing, but they’ve lost the millennial demographic that most brands are trying to court.
Which, if that’s their aim, godspeed! Good luck and congrats and I am very happy to find Club Monaco and Gap from the nineties at my friends’ vintage stores where I can continue to channel my best Janeane Garofalo in Reality Bites self. But the popularity of these capsule re-introductions send the very distinct message that there’s a market absolutely starving for a very distinct aesthetic that these brands once perfected.
So, like, give them back to us. Stop making capsule collections that consist of two shirts and maybe a pair of jeans that sell out before anyone even knows they exist anymore. Stop raising our hopes, only to realize the jeans you loved in 1998 were only available for 10 seconds at the flagship store that is 99 km away from the nearest bus station. Do what you do best. Ride the nostalgia train to relevance. Stop trying to make the aesthetic equivalent of fetch happen (read: 2017 trends) and deliver unto us the jean jackets and sweatshirts and mom jeans we were too young to appreciate once upon a time. Celebrate Reality Bites and the Club Monaco outlet I was obsessed with in 1998 and broaden your horizons.
Brands, what I’m saying is, I know you can read this: accept your correlation with the past, and embrace it accordingly. No one wants anything that screams 2017 anyway. (Or maybe that’s just me.)