How Luxury Brands Came to Love Streetwear
It may have seemed like a bizarre idea in the past, but high end luxury labels are collaborating with streetwear brands.
If you had of said five years ago that high end luxury brands would expand their market and brand exposure through the collaborations of various streetwear companies, you would have been mocked. We don’t think anyone would have predicted it, but this is a modern day trend amongst various brands that you hear so frequently about, and has resulted in many positive outcomes.
Everyone is aware of the massive jump in price, affiliation and style when you compare streetwear to luxury brands. These brands are often ignored by the younger demographic because they simply do not have the funds or the fashion confidence, preferring to stay loyal to their beloved streetwear labels.
Luxury brands are becoming more aware that their older, more loyal buyers are not getting any younger, and do not want to get left behind after developing such a distinct reputation.
Sure, luxury items are easy to get ahold of if you can afford the price tag, but generally speaking, it is just simply not what the majority of buyers are looking for in 2018. The extensive growth in streetwear has surpassed luxury thanks to their ability to provide their audience with what they want: affordable clothes inspired by younger role models, and creative aspects that catch the attention.
Luxury brands will always have that strong focal point of being the original founders of high end streetwear, which people will always respect, but young buyers will only purchase these brands if they have can afford it. Sure, using younger influencers as brand ambassadors does help communicate the message, but this still does not generate the sales and leads that they want.
So what is the answer to this solution? Simple. You get ahold of streetwear brands that are most popular amongst your target demographic, and collaborate on something that can connect with buyers through unique and deadstock items. This results in something both brands have never created before - joining two iconic labels to form a separate division.
From the streetwear perspective, luxury brands are a footnote, and many younger buyers will only consider purchasing if their favourite brands are involved. This means luxury brands need streetwear collaborations more than ever if they want to conquer the young demographic.
With that in mind, here are some prime examples of why a brand collaboration is needed in order to keep up with modern times, especially in the fast paced fashioned industry where trends are constantly changing.
Supreme x Louis Vuitton
Back in 2000, Supreme released a Louis Vuitton monogram inspired range which included a set of skate decks, box logos and hats. At the time, Louis Vuitton were having none of it, and forced Supreme to remove the entire collection. Fast forward 17 years and with much speculation surrounding the two giant’s movements - the long awaited Supreme x Louis Vuitton collaboration was born.
The internet went into a complete frenzy once this was confirmed, as it was by far the biggest fashion collaboration to ever hit the market. 7,500 people in Tokyo, 2,000 people in London and 1,500 people in Sydney all lined up to secure a chance at this one-off collection, and in-store releases were not available in NY and LA due to the expected chaos of people scrambling for limited items. Something that was exemplified from the previous release between Supreme and the Nike Air Foamposite.
The collection was justified by a large price tag, although both brands knew that buyers would still purchase certain items due to the enormous hype generated. Louis Vuitton gained a whole new audience by working with Supreme, tapping into their younger demographic. Items are still being resold on grailed.com today, with prices ranging in the thousands.
Alexander Wang x Adidas Originals
Being a sporting giant, Adidas has always been in the middle of all things collaborative, including working with notable luxury designer Alexander Wang. The best thing about this collaboration was the creative aspects Wang brought to Adidas. We saw a 25 piece collection with the iconic Adidas Originals styles, including sweatshirts, shoes, T-shirts and long-sleeves, all featuring three inside-out stripes and upside-down trefoils.
The collaboration was so successful that two reunited for a second season, drawing inspiration from the cycling and rave scene back with Alexander Wang’s infamous three stripe inside-out, upside down trefoils. This cleverly gave the collaboration a unique tone of voice compared to their respective brands.
The Alexander Wang x Adidas collaboration proved to be unique in its own right. The traditional sporting style Adidas Originals crossed with the cutting edge style that Alexander Wang adopts is a prime example of streetwear and luxury combined to create something amazing.
Gosha Rubchinskiy x Burberry
Backed by Comme Des Garcon, Russian born Gosha Rubchinskiy has always been at the forefront of all things fashion within the Russian market, relating especially to the younger demographic with its agenda setting influence.
Gosha’s appeal crosses between high end and streetwear, which gives the ability to market items in two seperate styles.
Adidas, Reebok and Vans are all ticked off under Gosha’s collaboration to do list, all having that Gosha style but with different angles for each. And what better way to extend Gosha’s appeal than by working with luxury legends Burberry - which was recently announced.
The Gosha x Burberry collection consists of eight pieces, including new interpretations of Burberrys iconic trench coat, which has been re-imaged by the streetwear influence of Gosha Rubchinskiy.
Chief Creative Officer of Burberry, Christopher Bailey said: “I have been a big supporter and admirer of Gosha’s creative work for a long time. He has an innate cultural sensibility and I was honored when he asked us to collaborate together for his new collection”.
This collaboration was a clear-cut winner for Burberry, who are shaking off the negative influence that surrounds them due to an unwanted association with "chavs" and soccer hooligans.
Tommy Hilfiger x Vetements
Vetements first came about with its DHL and Snoop Dogg oversized tees, which were popular with Hollywood's elite. This came to the surprise of buyers who were shocked at the prices of t-shirts in general, sparking a debate around if it really is worth paying for.
Tommy Hilfiger needs no introduction due to their leading force and influence amongst the fashion industry, however they heavily rely upon basics and recently released a 90s era collection hoping to attract younger buyers.
Hilfiger had previously been popular amongst buyers both young and old, but has somewhat lost its creative touch amongst its clothing line.
However every brand needs a separate division - whether it be a collaboration or not, and the collaboration between Hilfiger and Vetements is a true testament in taking a long standing brand (Hilfiger) and adopting something special with new clientele (Vetements). The hype that Vetements has generated among a much more younger demographic has significantly helped reignite the influence of Tommy Hilfiger, with a twist.
The main goal behind luxury brands in collaborating with streetwear brands is designed not only to encourage people to buy into the collaboration, but to also leave a long lasting impression on the younger audience and encourage them to consider the luxury brand’s original collection. Collaborations create a new look for both brands, generating verification from both angles while enticing buyers to become more brand loyal.
If the collection exceeds business expectations then there is always room for future collaborations, creating more demand and attracting further sakes.
This is the dawn of a new age within the fashion industry, as luxury brands are slowly but surely adopting and to younger audiences tastes with unique collaborations. Will we see more? We hope so.
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