Simone Rocha x H&M: my months rent for a dress

Everything Simone Rocha x H&M's new collaboration is discussed. As Josie Broome illustrates the potential pitfalls all fashion lovers undergo, and what we should do about it.

Josie Broome
23rd March 2021
Simone Rocha’s high street collaboration with fast-fashion brand H&M dropped on the 11th of March. It was met by hysteria from fashion lovers around the globe including myself. The long-awaited collection, endorsed by Gen-Z favourites Adwoa Aboah and Daisy Edgar-Jones, held up a torch of floral tulle hope as we near the end of the UK lockdown and plan our 21st of June party-fits. The tension rose in the run-up to the drop as Instagram was bombarded with influencers sporting their looks from the VIP early launch. I was ready. Alarm set, furlough saved, I was getting my hands on a Simone Rocha dress. 16-year-old me would never have dreamed this day would come. 

Three days later when my black puff dress with red embroidered flowers arrived I floated around my flat feeling… elite. The collection had sold out around the world within almost 10 minutes and I know very few people who got their hands on anything after waiting four hours in a virtual queue.

I could not admit to my jealous friends that I had cheated, and I could not admit to myself that I was not elite. You see, I had also waited for four hours to no avail, before promptly heading to eBay and buying from an influencer, who had at least three of the same dresses in varying sizes, for the price of my month's rent. I am a fraud, but I am a fraud in a delicious dress. 

Image: H&M

Before this collection, I was a believer in High-Street High-End collabs. I marvelled at the dedicated brawls customers fought when the H&M Kenzo collection dropped in stores in 2016 - the drama was wonderful. Now, I am not so sure. H&M marketed their Simone Rocha collaboration as “accessible” and “for all the family”. But how accessible can a collection be when influencers are gifted multiple pieces to re-sell at extortionate rates? When inevitably, only a handful of people actually secured the bag.

I wonder from my high horse of ‘look at me in my nice new dress’ whether insta-fame celebs' endorsements (while isolating in their Provence Chateaux), matched the promise of “accessible” high-end design. It promotes a false ideal.

she couldn't access the supposedly accessible

I can’t help but think of the hypothetical 14-year-old girl who has saved her birthday money to buy one of these unobtainable items. She woke up at 8 am, joined a queue and faced immense disappointment when there was nothing left for her. She can’t afford the £280 eBay re-sale that I could convince myself was worth it. When she couldn't access the supposedly accessible, with a pair of socks going for £30, what does that tell her about her prospective place within the fashion community? 

This collection has been, undoubtedly, an exceptional show of design prowess from Rocha, and she still has a huge place in my designer bleeding heart. I do however question whether high end fashion and high street fashion should perhaps stay in their own lanes. Unless they're willing to bypass the excessive decline in stock to provide the social media princesses with free garments, leaving the rest of us civilians to clamour over the leftovers. 

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