The Balmain Army and the Business of Fashion

Anyone who vaguely follows fashion will be aware of the imminent collaboration of Balmain’s revered Olivier Rousteing with H&M. The collection, Balmain X H&M, will launch on November 5th, bringing a one-off collection of affordable, yet quintessentially Balmain pieces to the high street.

But while many are in the know about – and are eagerly anticipating – this most talked about collaboration, few are aware of the reasons behind it, and why such designer collaborations have proven so successful for “fashion giant” H&M in previous seasons.

LAS VEGAS, NV - MAY 17: Model Jourdan Dunn, designer Olivier Rousteing and model Kendall Jenner, all wearing Balmain x H&M, attend the 2015 Billboard Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 17, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)Balmain designer Olivier Rousteing with models Jourdan Dunn and Kendall Jenner, both wearing Balmain X H&M (image: H&M)

In terms of overall sales, the collaborations barely generate a significant profit, however they undoubtedly attract significant media attention, which ultimately translates into sales and marketing benefits. The exposure will, of course, simultaneously benefit the Balmain brand.

This is partly achieved through glamorous and star-studded launch events, which, in the past, have boasted live performances from an impressive collection of artists including Nicki Minaj, Missy Elliot and Prince. This year will undoubtedly see the likes of Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid, and the rest of Rousteing’s ‘Balmain Army’ take to the catwalk at the collection’s launch, which will take place at the old JP Morgan Chase building on Wall Street.

balmain armyGigi Hadid, Jourdan Dunn and Kendall Jenner – Rousteing’s so-called ‘Balmain Army’ (image:

The idea to host such lavish, one-off collection debuts was possibly inspired by ‘Kaiser’ Karl Lagerfeld, Creative Director of Chanel, who set the trend in 2002 with the Chanel ‘Métiers d’Art’ – an annual tribute to the fashion house which takes place in a different city each Autumn.

Such shows today are invaluable for the media presence – both journalistic and social – of these brands. The attendees arguably contribute more to their advertising campaigns than they do themselves, with comprehensive Instagram and Twitter coverage of the events reaching millions and making high fashion simultaneously more accessible and exclusive.

PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 07: (L-R) Kristen Stewart, Julianne Moore and Lara Stone attend the Chanel show as part of Paris Fashion Week Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2015/2016 at the Grand Palais on July 7, 2015 in Paris, France. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)Julianne Moore, Kristen Stewart and Lara Stone were guests of honour at the ‘Chanel Casino’ during Paris Fashion Week (image: Vanity Fair)

Nobody understands the business side of the fashion industry more than Imran Amed. A management consultant from Calgary, Iman has combined his passion and his work to create The Business of Fashion (BoF), and in doing so he has become a pioneer in one of the slowest industries to embrace technology.

BoF is essential reading not just for those working in the industry, but for anyone with an interest in fashion that goes beyond scanning the cover of Vogue. The site has become wildly successful since its launch in 2013, covering everything from luxury e-commerce to the top 10 fashion schools in a tone that is decidedly more WSJ than W.

imranImran Amed, founder of Business of Fashion (image: The Telegraph)

“You can’t download a Chanel bag”, says Imran. But technology is catching up with the fashion industry, and BoF is at the forefront, offering a “global, academic outsider’s perspective” on the business behind the brands. Don’t fall behind…

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