Eight months after Australian designer Alice McCall shuttered her business, the brand will make a return, of sorts. On Monday, McCall announced that she will partner with Shein to release a capsule collection of over 30 pieces made from recycled materials.
Though Shein sells works by thousands of independent designers — including pieces that some say imitate the creations of others — Mccall is a rare example of a luxury fashion bona fide partnering with the Singapore-based fast-fashion giant. A staple at Australian fashion week, McCall’s line was often seen on local celebrities and photographed for magazine editorials in the country’s editions of Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and Elle.
The brand was hit hard by the pandemic, entering voluntary administration in 2020 and scaling back its 15 physical stores to just three, before ceasing production entirely in February of this year. The Shein collection will launch on Nov. 16 and will be available in Australia and New Zealand.
Shein has been outspoken about its intention to move towards more premium and branded products, which command higher margins and could bring in wealthier customers. It’s had limited success so far: Last month, BoF reported that Shein had begun selling high-end designer and luxury pieces including Balmain, Lanvin, and Paul Smith after it opened up to third-party merchants in a marketplace model. However, the stock appears to be unauthorised grey market goods and are not directly sourced from the brands. Shein has a handful of partnerships with mass brands like Skechers and Hanes, but few, if any, luxury brands have willingly sold through the platform.
The Alice McCall collaboration plays into another recent effort by Shein to burnish its image, using rescued textiles sourced via the company’s partnership with sustainability firm Queen of Raw.
The announcement drew dismay from some McCall fans, and Shein opponents online, who say such partnerships don’t address fundamental problems with fast fashion, including encouraging overconsumption and opaque labour practices.
Like her main line, the Shein collaboration will feature Mccall’s signature romantic style, albeit at much lower prices: a dress will cost $120, compared with $300 to $800 for her main brand. The press release teasing the collaboration described it as “pop pastels, floral prints evocative of an English garden, a nod to 70s Italian lingerie, art nouveau inspired lurex jacquard pieces, sequined mini dresses, toile de jour prints and Marie Antionette-inspired ruffled off the shoulder mini dresses.”
“I have always resonated with the idea that my designs can become attainable to a wider audience, so when the opportunity to partner with Shein presented itself, it felt like I was able to turn this vision into reality,” McCall said in the announcement.
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