Fashion brand collaborations: the industry’s new creative fuel?

Fashion brand collaborations: the industry’s new creative fuel?

Collaborations between fashion brands now seem to have settled in the industry. News about big players like Balenciaga or Adidas and their stylistic contaminations bounce around the web almost every month. Is this kind of hacking a mere trend or the new way for designers to unlock their brand identity to the next level?

If co-labs were initially understood as the juxtaposition of a well-known face in the art or sports world with a brand identity, now it’s the designers themselves who are getting in on the act and turning the tables. From Louis Vuitton x Supreme to The North Face x Gucci, these stylistic contaminations are becoming increasingly “courageous”.
Therefore, the concept of branding is revisited and fashion houses have fun playing with and mixing ideas, but above all market targets. Here are some contaminations that have left their mark:

“The Hacker Project” by Balenciaga x Gucci, named after hacking, outlines the stylistic contamination between the two brands Gucci and Balenciaga and lands on the runway during the Spring Summer 2022 shows. The products display Demna Gvasalia’s double BB logo instead of Gucci’s iconic double GG. It’s all about the counterfeiting and reinterpretation of two different brands that give way to a striking aesthetic and dynamic, over-the-top vandalism.

If with Gucci and Balenciaga there was talk of contamination, with Fendace there was an exchange of maisons. Kim Jones, artistic director of Fendi, has in fact created a Versace collection, while Donatella has focused on the creation of a small Fendi collection. In a triumph of baroque prints and glittering FFs, double logo accessories rode the runways at the end of Milan Fashion Week in September. Brand identity no longer seems to be a style acronym, but a real marketing strategy!

Silvia Venturini Fendi didn’t just wink at Medusa, she crossed international borders! Fendi x Skims has united Roman elegance with American underwear, bringing to the market a capsule collection that has been successful even before being launched, reaching a gross of one million dollars in just the first 24 hours! Kim Kardashian and Kim Jones have in fact created a capsule that has merged the aesthetic codes of two antithetical brands and two seemingly distant worlds, luxury and loungewear, creating an iconic everyday wear.

The real surprise, however, comes with Tiffany x Supreme, which merges the styles of two different product categories! The famous jewelry brand has, in fact, created together with Supreme a line of six pieces inspired by the iconic acronym Return to Tiffany adapting it with the remake Return to Supreme. From key rings and bracelets to necklaces, streetwear has also taken on jewelry.

The sports brand Adidas continues to cultivate relationships with luxury brands. This is the case of Prada, which carries out a co-branding operation where the iconic Three Stripes motif is taken up on a selection of accessories, bags and clothing in black and white. But that’s not all, because recently Adidas has also made court to Gucci and during MFW 2022 Alessandro Michele has in fact brought on the catwalk evening outfits, bags and jackets branded with the iconic three stripes logo. The sports brand seems to continue its run in the luxury sector also with Balenciaga. In fact, some leak photos bounced on the web seem to have anticipated the arrival of a possible collaboration between Adidas and Balenciaga. In short, the approach between the Kering group and Adidas seems to raise some suspicions, could there be some purchase around the corner?

Collaborations seem to have become more and more frequent, also the result of the constant need for renewal in an “artistic” sector such as fashion, which needs creative gasoline on the agenda.

What is certain is that union is strength, and if today contaminations are becoming a normality, what will be the next step with which the fashion industry will overturn its stylistic codes?

We just have to sit in the front row and wait!

by Giorgia Dallasio
5th April, 2022

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