Can we differentiate between artist-brand collaborations anymore?
Now that we’ve become so accustomed to seeing art like Keith Haring’s graffiti covering clothes, it feels as though we’ve reached a boiling point that has recontextualized brand-artist collaborations. Junya Watanabe’s Spring 2023 collection proved a new concept of irony, situating Jean-Michel Basquiat and Haring’s work next to the logos of Netflix, Coca-Cola, and Honda. Thanks to brand collaboration, is famous art now a satirical reflection of avid consumerism? Alongside that, we have interview features with collaborative icons Jimmy Choo and Daniel Arsham. As always, thank you for reading. Please keep sending feedback and tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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—Sadie Bargeron, Brand Editor
GLOBAL COLLABS OF THE WEEK
Analysis of three hot global releases…
CHARLES JEFFREY LOVERBOY X FRED PERRY — 3rd collection, May 12
- Despite just 30 organic posts about it, the combined estimated reach was 599k. Charles Jeffrey saw mentions for the brand jump by approximately 11 times following the announcement, but Fred Perry has seen no direct impact in terms of online engagement.
THE VERDICT: It’s a seamless celebration of British culture, matching Charles Jeffrey’s LOVERBOY rave identity with Fred Perry’s indie flair. The first LOVERBOY single being released at the same time of this launch wonderfully establishes the entanglement of subculture fashion and music.
FENDI X VERSACE — The Swap: Fendace collection, May 12
- Fendace has seen 17k mentions over the past month which is really low compared to when it was first revealed in September 2021 and saw 355k, implying that the shock-factor has worn off.
THE VERDICT: As of May 17, it hasn’t yet sold out but that’s largely due to the extremely high price tags (over $1k for a T-shirt) implying it’s more an investment for collectors and loyal luxury customers. People seem to love it on social media though, with positive sentiment at 86 percent across 86 countries.
CASS X PRADA — Sneakers, May 17
- Even before the sneakers had even been released, Cassius Hirst saw mentions reach a 540k estimated reach as a result of the announcement.
THE VERDICT: At just 19-years-old, Damien Hirst’s son Cassius gained recognition via a collaboration with Virgil Abloh and MCA Chicago on 20 Nike Air Force 1s in 2019. Having since painted AF1s for ASAP Rocky Samuel Ross of A-Cold-Wall* and Offset, he’s become known for customising sneakers, so this release with Prada should perform well in the sneakerworld.
GLOBAL COLLAB SPOTLIGHT
Analysis of a recent release that has sparked global conversations
BOSIDENG X ANNAKIKI – Outerwear collection, May 16
- Having not posted on Weibo since 2013, Bosideng doesn’t have a large presence on the platform, therefore it’s unsurprising that there are zero posts about the news. Over on WeChat, the first and only post about this currently has 24.3k reads and 83 likes.
THE VERDICT: Bosideng’s been on a mission to take high-fashion for a while, and this release with Chinese designer label Annakiki reflects that motivation. It’s tapping into local designer loyalty among its biggest consumer-base, Mainland China.
PANDA EXPRESS® x 3.1 PHILLIP LIM – Charity apparel collection, May 10
- Over the past month, Phillip Lim’s Prabal Gurung collaboration for the Disney Plus series American Born Chinese is what has gained him the most online traction, not this one with Panda Express®. Although, on May 10, mentions for Phillip Lim did increase by 300 percent.
THE VERDICT: To mark Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month, 100 percent of profit from this streetwear capsule will be donated to local organizations supporting food security. Combining community spirit and national pride during such a difficult time for China, this is a great move for Phillip Lim. Plus, having collaborated with the likes of Anti Social Social Club, Panda Express clearly has a strategy to appeal to its streetwear-obsessed Gen Z demographic.
PEACE ELITE X FILA – Anniversary capsule, May 18
- The official Weibo post by Peace Elite (10.3million followers) on this collaboration achieved just 651 likes, probably due to fashion collaborations not being the central interest of Game For Peace fans.
THE VERDICT: Fila’s winning with this collaboration. Game For Peace is incredibly popular in China, with Tencent having invested millions in the Peacekeeper Elite League in 2021. Over the past 30 days, Fila has seen 478k mentions in China with a 222million reach, yet with no correlation to this collab, proving its already-established popularity.
COLLABS CATCH UP
Jing’s latest collaboration news…
EXCLUSIVE Q&A WITH RICHARD QUINN
At the Bicester Village British Fashion Council x The Creative Spot pop-up, Jing Collabs & Drops spoke to Moncler collaborator, debut Queen Elizabeth II award winner, and all-round designer-of-the-moment, Richard Quinn.
How important do you think collaboration is as an independent designer?
“It’s really important. It’s good to learn from other, bigger companies, to learn how they source everything and make things. Having an insight even into the materials too, like if they have a sustainable alternative to something. You want to learn but also be in a relevant place too.”
Is collaboration a huge part of your brand strategy?
“Not back to back collaborations. But if the right one comes along… it’s a trade off. You want to learn a lot and give them something in return. With Moncler, for example, we reached an audience that wouldn’t have really known who we were. There’s a lot you can gain from collaboration. [With Bicester Village’s Creative Spot BFC collaboration], it’s nice for us to have people who wouldn’t necessarily see our product, to come across it and see it in real life, rather than online. Just to reach different audiences is really nice.”
What do you think has been the most pivotal one of your career so far?
“Moncler, I think. It was really fun but we also learnt a lot in terms of how to do outerwear properly. Now, we do puffer jackets because we know the correct way to make them. If someone sees that you have made a Moncler puffer jacket then they also trust you to make one yourself. It’s strategic to make certain products and learn how to by doing certain collaborations.”
What advice would you give to an independent designer who’s being approached by alot of brands to collaborate?
“It has to work in terms of the creativity of it, financially as well. Timing as well, you don’t want to do launches that are going to affect the sale of your launches. And obviously the audience, like the audience and the values and things like that line up. I want to be excited about collaborations. You don’t want to do something that’s really boring just for the money because it’s not going to resonate with people anyway, it’s that kind of balance that it has to hit certain pillars for us.”
CHINA’S NETIZENS SCRUTINIZE ADIDAS X GUCCI COLLAB
The new Adidas x Gucci umbrella, priced at $1,600, causes a storm on China’s Weibo. Read all about it here.
|Phillip Wong alongside designs by Rick Owens x Adidas.|
PHILLIP WONG ON RICK OWENS X ADIDAS
Phillip Wong (@phillipwong.co) is one half of the grooming and fragrance label Hawthorne, which bridges the gap between elevated style and accessibility in the men’s grooming world. Before co-founding the brand, Wong worked as an art director for the likes of Shayne Oliver’s now-legendary Hood by Air.
The Story: “What I’ve always admired about Rick’s work is the architectural, industrial appearance to his pieces, and yet they can feel like the most comfortable loungewear you don’t want to take off for days. He brought these contrasts to his Adidas collaboration and helped me bridge the gap between having to wear more sport-like sneakers for function, but boots for aesthetic – you could do both.”
The Impact: “It felt like the Rick x Adidas collab (in concert with the Raf Simons one happening at the same time) placed sneakers in an entirely new genre. It felt as though there was a somewhat divergent evolution branching off from traditional sneakers in which the genes were being edited and altered in a new, fun way. I think it formed a new north star for brands across the board, where mutating the sneaker silhouette became the norm. I can’t wait to see the next breakthrough.”
ON OUR RADAR
Five collabs-to-watch of the week
MAY 16: TAKASHI MURAKAMI X READYMADE
The limited-edition vintage jean collection is covered in Murakami’s famed smiling flower.
MAY 17: GIVENCHY X DISNEY
“The Wonder Gallery” capsule will feature an array of Disney icons.
MAY 19: DR MARTENS X THE NATIONAL GALLERY
The signature DM silhouettes will feature the work of Impressionist painters Claude Money and Vincent van Gogh, as well as post-Impressionist Georges Seurat.
MAY 20: PALACE X ADIDAS
Continuing their ongoing collaboration, the two brands are venturing into the great outdoors with this ready-to-wear offering.
MAY 24: SALEHE BEMBURY X STUDIO PROBA
The sneaker-fave collaborator Salehe Bembury is venturing into homeware with the “Absorbed Langauge” collection of cushions.
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All social media data is sourced from social listening tool Digimind.