Memes flooded the internet calling the khaki pants a “bus conductor outfit” and claiming that the sequined kaftan emitted “colonizer vibes.” Others were shocked that a tote bag in the allegedly affordable collection cost $299 in the U.S. Still others were “baffled” that the entire collection, a high-low collaboration between Indian luxury designer Sabyasachi and Swedish fast-fashion label H&M — controversial for its fast-fashion DNA — sold out in mere minutes, globally.
Founder and CEO of the eponymous brand, Sabyasachi Mukherjee, ended up posting a note on his brand’s Instagram account in response to the controversy, denying claims that influencers had received items in advance of the August 12, 2021 launch. “The entire motive behind this collection was wish fulfillment for me. It’s why I designed an extensive range, so everybody could get something.” But the problem was, not everybody did. Many who were hoping to snag a few pieces were disappointed to find that the collection sold out almost immediately. Several others who were skeptical of the collaboration opted out of the whole collection in the first place.
“H&M is notorious for allegedly questionable labor practices, so this feels doubly bad,” said Rosie Kar, who is in her 30s and lives in Los Angeles. “Sabyasachi has always been vocal about supporting local talent and not exploiting it.”