With the release of the Weeknd’s second collaboration with H&M, Adam Lawler assesses the collection and whether it’s worth investing in. [hr]
Last month Abel Tesfaye, the R&B recluse turned international popstar known as The Weeknd, released an 18-piece collection with clothing giant H&M. This is not the first time the two have collaborated having released a collection in spring of this year, but the hype still reached fever pitch for this collection. One of the freshest and most stylish musicians around finally got to create a collection that mirrors his image as self-professed “Legend of the Fall.” Just how many of the pieces are worth purchasing?
The most noticeable aspect of this collection is the lack of formal clothing pieces. Whereas Tesfaye’s “Spring Icons” line featured a mix of bombers, blazers, trenches, trousers, pleather (imitation leather) jackets, and hoodies, this autumn line leans to the comfortable side with sweatshirts, t-shirts, ample oversized hoodies and two satin bombers. The fuchsia sweatshirt pops with colour, the off-white hoodie exudes street-style cool, and the black parka is sleek apart from the gaudy ring of text saying “if it ain’t XO then it gotta go!,” a lyric from his latest release ‘Starboy.’ This is to say nothing of the satin bomber in black, and varsity jacket in luxurious purple.
The Spring collection had a neutral palette of golden beiges and olive greens, and was arguably more Autumnal than this collection’s blacks, whites, and purples. The most obvious explanation would be that The Weeknd was going for a colourfully-stylised graphic vision, a view supported by the vivid colours, illustrations of tigers and snakes, and a pulpy font that could have been lifted straight from ‘Drive.’ With a Marvel comic collaboration just announced, this would make perfect sense. However, for the average consumer it could risk resembling skate-wear designed to be paired with clunky DCs and a snapback.
These pieces do not speak to the quiet edge of the Weeknd’s pre-superstardom years, as much as they pander to his newly expanded audience. It could be argued that these are pieces he thinks the new legion of fans would expect him to make, or pieces that he hopes the average high-street browser would wear. It is as though he lacked funding for an extensive merch collection for his ongoing tour and saw an easy way to expand his reach with H&M’s backing. The black and purple varsity jacket with a W patch on the chest recalls pieces from Beyoncé’s Formation tour merch, in that it is designed specifically to appeal to hardcore fans with its excessively branded imagery. In short, the average consumer needn’t bother; the collection is nice and looks comfortable, but is not essential.