BRAND ON BRAND
Updated: Nov 7, 2019
Ever since Karl Lagerfeld launched a collection with fast fashion retailer H&M in 2002, the concept of “brand x brand” collaboration is now employed by anyone and everyone in the industry - from Target and Birkenstock to Celiné and Maison Margiela. Collaborations can help brands reach a wider audience but in this day and age, it feels as though brands are pushing collaborations more than singular brands.
☆ Brand x Brand Collaboration
When outlining collaborations it’s important to highlight some pioneers in collab culture. Supreme has worked with everyone and anyone culturally impactful from Diddy, Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst to Budweiser, Kermit the Frog, and Louis Vuitton. No brand has been able to collab with this intensity without looking corny.
A cool example of an unorthodox collaboration is Heron Preston's Authorized Fakes. Preston purchased counterfeit versions of his own product from China and redesigned it to sell as an authentic piece. Check it out below:
☆ Brand x Music Collaboration: Dressed Like Rappers
A less obvious contributor to collab culture is hip hop music. Hip hop and fashion have always held a close relationship, drawing inspiration and incorporating both parties into each other’s lives. Hip hop has embraced fashion since its inception. With the rise of rap influence on culture itself paired with a new wave of designers raised on hip-hop music, like Virgil Abloh and Kanye West, one can argue the fashion industry has started to mirror hip hop’s approach to creativity. From its origination, hip hop has always been a deeply collaborative art from from artist features to production collaborations. In hip hop, an artist feature is sought after and viewed as a potentially “elevated” version of the original. Sometimes this concept falls through and other times it exceeds expectations, similar to collaborations in fashion today. A bad fashion collaboration like NEIGHBOURHOOD x J Crew is equivalent to a Taylor Swift x Kendrick Lamar track.
☆ Brand x Art Collaboration: Fashion enters the Museum
Collaborations don’t necessarily mean just brand x brand. Fashion and art have also recognized each others influence and celebrated that by working together. A beautiful collaborative moment in fashion-art history is The Art of the In-Between exhibition, held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City focusing on Comme Des Garçons. This was the first costume institute monogram on a living designer since Yves Saint Laurent in 1983.
☆ Oversaturation in Collaboration
Good collaborations emerge because brands align their brand ethos with one another, like Sacai x Undercover, while other’s leave us scratching our heads, like Balenciaga x Crocs.
Check out some of our least favourite brand collaborations: