As fashion collaborations become increasingly popular, Lucy Mortell examines the benefits of teaming up.
THIS week it was announced that fast fashion giants UNIQLO were entering yet another luxury collaboration, this time with JW Anderson.
Collaborations in fashion are nothing new: combining the best creative minds has been the habit of designers for decades. The recent glut of collaborations has highlighted just how important and effective partnerships are in the industry, most often between fast fashion and luxury brands.
As likes of H&M have done before, UNIQLO frequently collaborates with high fashion designers to produce fashion forward, yet affordable, clothing. The combination of fabulous clothes with attractive prices immediately creates footfall. It generates intense interest and huge amounts of buzz, which then allows the luxury brand to permeate through to the mainstream. Collaboration for luxury brands means access to a future market by reaching a younger clientele without compromising their core proposition.
“For smaller scale designers, it is an opportunity to showcase their work to new audiences.”
Luxury giants Coach most recently collaborated with industry darlings Rodarte. The contrast of Coach’s heritage chic and Rodarte’s edgy realness allowed Coach to re-imagine its classic look in an innovative, cool collection. Rodarte has been making its way up the industry ladder since 2005. Despite being greeted with scepticism, the brand persisted and continue to rise in the rankings. Unlike UNIQLO, though, Rodarte’s prices are not so wallet friendly, so why the collaboration?
The benefits of partnering works two ways. For smaller scale designers, it is an opportunity to showcase their work to new audiences. Linking up with big name brands brings about big name talent. The following that is attracted by legacy brands allows these up and coming designers to get their names in the pages of magazines and on the bodies of influential trendsetters.
“Collaborating with a fresh-faced brand creates a space in which they can experiment and play with their designs.”
The high fashion brands similarly reap the benefits. They gain an opportunity to not only create hype, but also a chance to re-invent themselves. Many high fashion brands have longevity because they are immediately recognisable, but collaborating with a fresh-faced brand creates a space in which they can experiment and play with their designs, inspiring new creativity. Like the big names, up and coming brands similarly have their own niche following. When a crossover is initiated, new demographics and markets are opened to a market they may not have experienced before.
Collaborations are imperative to fashion’s future. It is an opportunity for the industry to cyclically renew itself. Like they say, two heads – or in this case, two design teams — are better than one.