Why Unusual Brand Collaborations Make Sense

There Are No Rules Anymore & We Like It.

While many collaborations happening today get us often scratching our heads, there is no doubting the uniqueness each one speaks to. The message being conveyed is “THERE ARE NO RULES” when it comes to contemporary Art, Fashion, and Design. At first, what seemed to come across as unusual and strange is now deemed the norm and maybe even a sort of expected.

This new norm has given a new perspective on how we think of brand collaborations. In fact, collaborations are now appreciated and celebrated by consumers sometimes even more than a brand’s own stand-alone drops. When a brand not only aims to sell but makes an effort to think of new creative ways to make a lasting impact on their target audience, it adds to the overall brand aesthetics, including the brand’s personality. We have seen that this has become ever-increasingly fundamental in today’s age of social media.

Let’s investigate a few multi-brand collaborations and the reasons why they made sense for the modern world.


Fendi x Fila

(Image Courtesy of FENDI)

(Image Courtesy of FENDI)

(Image Courtesy of FENDI)

(Image Courtesy of FENDI)

What made it unusual?

During the past few years, FILA has regained much a lot of popularity, as well as much of its former glory through strategic use of social media and and social media influencers. Not too many years ago, the brand experienced a vast decline in popularity, which is why FENDI could have decided to collaborate with any other brand than FILa. However going with FILA was a bold move that ended up benefiting both brands in question.

Why it made sense?

Clothing brands collaborating is nothing but unusual. The Streetwear fashion industry is very well aware of the fact that Luxury fashion houses and streetwear brands have been collaborating more often of recent while merging their somewhat distant worlds together.

Most importantly luxury fashion houses understand the power of streetwear culture, as well as the power of collaborating with streetwear brands shows consumers they are in the “know” and as relevant as ever before. This potentially means that when a brand like FENDI decides to drop their own street-inspired apparel and silhouette sneakers, it’s not unexpected and increases their sales and their overall brand clout.


Virgil Abloh x Evian Water

(Image Courtesy of Evian Water)

(Image Courtesy of Evian Water)

What made it unusual?

When we think about Virgil Abloh’s presence in the contemporary fashion world, the first thing that pops into minds of most people are the Off White x Nike “The Ten” or his continuous and groundbreaking work with Louis Vuitton - not a water company. Virgil carefully decides who he is going to collab with & and the idea of him deciding to go completely out the box with a water collab made this very unusual, yet highly intriguing. Remember: “THERE ARE NO RULES”

Why it made sense?

As a brand, Evian is not viewed as cool but rather seen for what it essentially is - A Water Company.

Due to the nature of the brand, this meant limited options to show off their brand personality. That is until they collaborated with Virgil to show the brand in another light for a whole new set of millennial consumers.

Collectively they created a limited edition “One Drop can make a Rainbow” collection which immediately would have consumers wanting to be involved. Collabs like this really brigs forth FOMO - the fear of missing out - in the most of us.

So not only does this collaboration mean consumers see the brand doing creative collaborations on social media, but also allows Evian to start building meaningful brand clout, which m, in turn leads to brand loyalty by giving consumers the ability to purchase such a dope refillable Soma glass water bottle.


Virgil Abloh x IKEA Sweden

(Image Courtesy of IKEA)

(Image Courtesy of IKEA)

What made it unusual?

 

It’s not every day that the world hears about IKEA, the Sweden-based multi-national retailer and producer of home appliances & furniture collaborating with the creative director of Louis Vuitton - and if that were to be the case, it would probably be to help design a retail experience or an interior space. Therefore, the IKEAxVirgil collaboration is pretty unusual at first sight.

Though I have to admit, soon if not already Virgil is increasingly normalizing brand collaborations, so whether that be a fellow artist such as Takashi Murakami, Nike, or IKEA, when Vigil puts his signature look on it, the product(s) become almost instantly celebrated. - It’s almost as if Virgil has a mIdas’ touch.

Why it made sense?

This opportunity allowed the company to do different creative things such as planned pop up shops in various cities and using Paris Fashion Week SS19 as an opportunity to further discuss the importance of merging fashion, art, and, design for today’s millennials.

Once a brand like Ikea makes a bold move to do a creative project like this, it adds future anticipation for the consumers and makes us the consumers more invested in starting to follow what other groundbreaking things they are planning for us during the years to come.

IKEA is now not only seen as a home furnishing producer and retailer but a brand that understands and hacks popular culture.


BAPE X HELINOX

(Image Courtesy of A Bathing Ape)

(Image Courtesy of A Bathing Ape)

What made it unusual?

A Bathing Ape is known for collaborating with other brands in the fashion space such as adidas, G-Shock, Undefeated, and Supreme. However, throwing a rather surprising outdoor company into the mix just got things very interesting for BAPE collaborations. Helinox is known for its quality tents, camping chairs, and folding tables, so needless to say that the brand has not really been associated with streetwear at all. Instead, it has a brand personality merely as an outdoor camping goods producer, which is why this collaboration surprised the most of us - including myself!

Why it made sense?

A Bathing Ape has been dominating the streetwear industry for decades, and it still continues to so. This collaboration allows the brand to hedge into different spaces and put a unique spin on outdoor equipment, which could be something they might want to do even more in the future.

As for Helinox, this collaboration allowed them to be seen as more fashionable while opening their market to an entirely new and different audience. Though Helinox is a successful brand selling quality/functional outdoor items, adding the bathing ape aesthetic on their garments arguably makes their products a lot more sought after.


Virgil Abloh was recently featured on the TIME Magazine’s The Most Influential People of 2018 List.

Virgil Abloh was recently featured on the TIME Magazine’s The Most Influential People of 2018 List.

Final Thoughts

Collaborations, whether expected or unexpected, are now in full effect with each campaign conveying a different message or trying to gain the attention of different and diverse audiences.

Brands have understood that social media and the network culture is not just a place to sell anymore. The brands that have proven to show consumers why their brand stands out from the crowd in today’s rather saturated market are riding the wave at its highest peak. Moreover, collaborations have proven to be a massive area of focus and one of the key driving factors in their abilities to demonstrate, or even re-create their brand identity.

Virgil Abloh has been a massive influence behind this new artistic expression and is something I believe will receive even a greater focus from brands and a larger audience outside of our streetwear niche as the retail industry continue to change dramatically. In fact, it did not come off as a surprise for us that Virgil was highlighted on The TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2018 List.

Afterall, the more extreme a collaboration, the more it can possibly makes sense for us millennials who, above most things, value uniqueness. But brands need to keep in mind that collaborations are supposed benefit all parties included - even the consumers or they will run in big troubles with the continuously increasing transparency in the fashion industry.


Curated by:

Bakez

The Author’s Personal Blog: www.heartafact.com

(Bakez is a Guest Contributor on Hypend.com)


Edited by:

Kasper Kasanen



Do you wish to contribute an article or a story to one of the

largest streetwear and urban communities in the Nordic countries?

Refer to our “Write for Us” page for more Info.