River Island x James Long



Designers like to make things, or they like to make things up, and have those things that they’ve made or made up seen, used, and appreciated by lots of people. For that, designers must collaborate with publishers, editors, retailers, etc; more precisely the people who have the money and power in the fashion industry. However my attention is going to be on the collaboration between the retailers and designers and how this opens new gates for the designer but also gives them chance to impact on the everyday high-street shopper, so they can also experience fine designs. 

The River Island Design Forum has been producing some great designs recently. Especially with the joint collaborations they seem to be springing on their trusty customers. The Design Forum Project is aiming to provide a platform for fresh new design talent by bringing exclusive, limited edition collections. These collections are pushing the boundaries of fashion on the high street. Designers such as the luxury womenswear Liz Black with her Imperial Russian inspired 9-piece capsule collection; Joseph Turvey brought us a Spring/Summer 14 collection, Baartmans & Siegel’s a wonderful tailored men collection, as well as artists such as Rihanna, who designed her own collection for River Island incorporating cool street style and chic looks. Now all shoppers of River Island have got another amazing collection to look forward to as it has been recently announced the collaboration between JAMES LONG and River Island’s Design Forum alumni in February, next season, with a kaleidoscopic colored collection. 


JAMES LONG’s collection promises to dare those who are less extroverted when it comes to fashion. Long’s taking the street wear to the next level with a key aesthetic of denim, leather and bold geometric prints. As every collection has its star, in this collection the title is taken by a bomber jacket with removable sleeves that will transcend seasons. Of course, it is not all about the clothes! Accessories play an important role in an outfit as well, so you can always buy a pair of sunglasses or bag to compliment your outfit. What is to know about the man behind the product, in our case James Long, is that he has already made his mark as a designer to watch!


Of course, even though Long has its place in River Island’s Design Forum Project he is far from being among the first collaborations that took place between designer and retailer. What is considered as being a trend on our market today has started about thirty years ago when Halston launched his line through what it was an easily affordable retailer, JC Penny. It’s true that at that time it was not considered at the best marketing strategy, as Marc Jacobs stated:

“When Halston did that thing with JC Penney, it was very bad for his couture business.”

Regardless of the fact that these early collaborations were not seen with good foresight at that time, a strong concept was born, and designers and retailers have invested heavily in these collaborations ever since. Now, are all this collaborations successful? I would say no if you base it on the sales results, but it does succeed on a far greater platform such as gaining media exposure. However what River Island wants is clearly stated through their River Island Design Forum Project, which takes me back to the next year’s collection to be followed, River Island x JAMES LONG!


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