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Do Capsule Collections Still Matter?

Fashion brand capsule collections have been around as long as some Millennials can remember, and have become so commonplace that this generation expects collaborations and limited edition lines to be a regular part of their wardrobe finds. So if these limited lines are so ubiquitous—do capsule collections still matter?
All signs point to yes, for now at least. Top name designers are consistently rolling out high to low collections and continue to earn buzz, sold out merchandise, and major crowds. But the draw of capsule collections is more than the merchandise itself. Online destinations like Racked give them constant updates on exclusive warehouse sales and pop-up shops to look out for, while some collaborations like Missoni and Target are so powerful that even the internet collapses under the weight of demand. They continue to drive traffic with young consumers because the purchase itself is only a part of the larger, more thrilling experience. Here are some of the reasons we haven’t seen the trend die off, despite its long life:
The Rush
Various blog posts detail the play-by-play action of shopping a capsule collection, not much different than the frenzy and hype created during blackout sales and limited edition tech releases. We had the chance to experience the “Isabel Marant pour H&M” collection this past November, and Millennials attending the launch locked in a strategy days in advance for capturing the collection’s key pieces, viewing other shoppers as competition. In line during the morning of the release, shoppers were greeted with complimentary coffee, timed wristbands, and even a sheet of rules to follow for their time allowed in the roped off sections of the store. The rush and stimulation of shopping a designer collection, albeit frustrating at times, is exhilarating, and is a game at heart with tangible rewards to be had. Even celebrities with plenty of designer access get in on the action, making it an experience that Millennials can be a part of and conquer.


The Ultimate Personality Test
The growing desire to be original and unique is nearly universal among Millennials who are forming their identities in the blog boom of street style. As they look for an aesthetic that sets them apart, the popularity of capsule collections provides a paradox of sorts where consumers strive to be ahead of the trends, yet in reality, are buying the same exact things. Though having the same clothing as the hundreds in line before you might seem to make little sense for Millennials on the hunt for uniqueness, it is important to note that for many standing out within the crowd is the real goal. Designer collections allow them to have a coveted item that is different enough from their peers thanks to its limited edition nature, but is still attainable. For other Millennials, buying into capsule collections is a challenge of originality and personal style. Armed with key pieces that can be mixed and matched in a way that is unique to each consumer, the more iconic and recognizable the capsule pieces are, the more fashion cred to be had.
The Designer Relationship
High fashion designer names, like Karl Lagerfeld (of Chanel) or the aforementioned Isabel Marant, excite an audience mostly comprised of young fashionistas and those looking to make a quick buck in the merch turnaround. Meanwhile, more varied and sizable audiences emerge when fashion and pop culture collide, as is the case with multiple collections from Rihanna for London-based label River Island. Millennial fans have the ability to track celebrities’ style from red carpet moments to paparazzi grocery shots to their goodnight selfie tweets. While Millennials don’t often aspire to emulate celebrity behavior, they still would like a piece of their style, and especially from a collection designed and worn by the star themselves. Upcoming collections on our radar include Drake for Nike, Zooey Deschanel for Tommy Hilfiger, and Sarah Jessica Parker for Nordstrom, each highlighting the ”real life” style of the attached celeb designer that Millennial fans can now own an element of. Celebrity style has become its own industry, and for the Millennials watching there is more opportunity than ever before to covet the looks of the famous.