Global retail powerhouse H&M debuted its long-awaited collaborative collection with high-end designer Isabel Marant this past week. Isabel Marant pour H&M was available for purchase as of Nov. 14 and was met with out-the-door lines and a frenzy of online activity that briefly shut down the H&M website.

Highly anticipated since its announcement in June, the collection has generated a massive buzz from bloggers, fashion enthusiasts and bargain hunters alike.

Following in the recent footsteps of other retail giants — 3.1 Phillip Lim for Target debuted in September — H&M worked with French designer Marant to create a collection that echoes the style of her main line but is sold at a lower price point.

The collection reflects the eclectic, trendy and characteristically French style of Marant’s main collection with oversized sweaters, fitted pants and fringed ankle boots.

Gabrielle Piloto, a 19-year-old UF telecommunication sophomore and intern, said the H&M collection has some beautiful pieces.

However, with pieces as expensive as $399, she said she also feels the collection doesn’t present many bargains for most shoppers.

“Overall, the collection is too overpriced for the normal H&M customer,” Piloto said, “no matter how gorgeous the pieces are.”

Prices aside, designer and mass retail collaborations like the Isabel Marant collection have become massively popular in the past few years.

UF marketing professor Richard Lutz noted the collaboration is a type of “co-branding,” aimed at creating an even more appealing product for consumers.

“The idea is that … there is a strength in both brands, and by combining them, there’s an even stronger attraction to the product,” Lutz said.

Despite the appeal and anticipation of the collection, it seems the Isabel Marant collection will still be slightly out of reach for most student shoppers.

Dani Shapiro, a 26-year-old California graduate student and style blogger at, said the designer pieces are more accessible in theory than in reality.

“Sure, it’s cool that they’re trying to make the brand accessible, but $300 jackets at a fast fashion superstore are hardly accessible,” she said. “People who can’t afford original brand prices still can’t afford those prices.”

A version of this story ran on page 10 on 11/21/2013 under the headline "H&M debuts collab with French designer"

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