• Ivanah Gupta


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.

Supreme x LV

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.

Supreme Abstract Tee - Picasso Le Rêve Painting

Supreme Hoodie - Van Gogh Painting Inspired

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:

Hero(m) Presto(m) to Heron Preston

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.

Playboi Carti walking in Louis Vuitton Show (Including Kid Cudi, Dev Hynes, and Steve Lacy)

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.

The MET x Comme Des Garcons: Art of the In-Between

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:

Balenciaga x Crocs

Christopher Kane x Crocs

Jeff Koons x Louis Vuitton

Kith x Coca Cola

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