Marking the first time two of the most famous names in sports and fashion would combine for what was then referred to as a long-term partnership. Adidas teamed up with Italian luxury house Prada for a very exclusive limited edition Adidas Superstar silhouette and sailing shoe. A first of its kind, this partnership cemented a trend that had long been happening with the fashion industry, one that was once seen as brand dilution but has become a viable success strategy.
While it’s not always obvious, the motivation for cross-collaboration between brands is quite simple – the ability to gain access to a new market. With a cycle that seems to be moving at lightning speed, luxury fashion brands, as much as they hate to admit and as much as they preach against ‘fast fashion’, need to fulfil a growing demand for newness, and fashion collaborations have been a successful (easy to go to) strategy for meeting this surge in demand across audiences. Take the Supreme x Louis Vuitton collaboration, the brainchild of now Dior head honcho, Kim Jones. This coming together became the epitome of luxury collaborations, marrying the then bubbling streetwear scene with what seemed to be a fading old guard of the elite in the luxury fashion house sphere. The trade-off for both brands would pay back tenfold – by attaching Supreme to Louis Vuitton, the streetwear brand would get that rubber stamp of approval from the fashion kingmakers and Louis Vuitton would gain the attention of a much younger, fashion-savvy market. Win-win.
Fast forward a couple of years to 2021 and these wins only seem to continue, and fashion collaborations continue to be the go-to strategy for luxury fashion brands. Rick Owens has debuted several collaborations with Moncler, Converse and Birkenstock, Margiela and Reebok continue their collaborations, Kim Jones has partnered with Converse, Wales Bonner with Adidas Originals, recently Travis Scott with Dior and plenty, plenty more. And as the internet continues to play its part – with fans posting articles, essays and tweets on which brands would go well together – we are sure to see more stylistic juxtapositions, as mixing and matching brands has become a characteristic of fashion in the ’20s. The practice is now baked into the creative process of this generation’s designers and will surely continue.