We figured we had seen every type of designer collaboration possible from retail mash-ups to celebrities and artists and even cartoon characters, but Macy's has thrown us yet another curve. Next month the department store will launch a line designed with MADE Fashion Week. The collective known as MADE comprises Mazdack Rassi, co-founder and creative director of Milk Studios; Jenné Lombardo, founder of The Terminal Presents branding and strategic marketing company, and Keith Baptista, founding partner of the Prodject production company. None of them are designers, and the 20 to 30 piece Made Fashion Week for Impulse collection will be designed by by both Macy's merchandising department and Milk Studios staff and range in price from $39 to $139. The collection is specifically not meant to be associated with any of the designers who show their collections at Milk Studios during Fashion Week, but rather the people who frequent the shows as fashion insiders. Macy's is keeping the line in (relatively) limited distribution, launching it in only 150 stores that heavily feature the contemporary Impulse department. The idea is to bring the style of cool downtown New York fashion types to Macy's shoppers. Baptista tells WWD, "The collection is really about individuality. What’s that young photographer who walks into the Milk Studio wearing? How does that blogger style herself? What’s that model wearing when she comes off the street? That’s what it’s about.”
Make of this what you will. We have a hard time swallowing the idea that about 10,000 other contemporary labels aren't already inspired by downtown New York fashion industry types, but good clothes at a good price always seem welcome. Unlike other Macy's collaborations, the Made Fashion Week for Impulse label is meant to be an ongoing collection for the store with new merchandise coming in on a monthly basis, or possibly even more frequently. To prove it's downtown cred, the launch campaign (pictured above) was shot by Terry Richardson at Milk Studios, naturally, and features a "backstage at a fashion shoot" theme. Will Richardson's typically dead-eyed models be too edgy for Macy's shoppers? Does the already bloated and overpromoted Fashion Week need to be further co-opted by America's biggest department store? As in anything retail related, the customers will have the final say next month.