It seems lockdown has further provided brands with the opportunity to create new, dynamic partnerships, and customers can’t seem to get enough.
Announcements of new collaborations have been accelerating as businesses have created unions to enable greater brand stand and sales opportunities.
Fashion brand H&M has long enjoyed the benefits of partnerships to create limited-edition collections – some of which have sold-out in hours (even minutes for some coveted lines), most recently in fashion with edgy designer – The Vampire Wife.
This week the brand will deliver on the eagerly-anticipated Diane von Furstenberg x H&M Home Collection, which is launching on Friday 16th April and will be available online and in selected stores.
As brands explore strategic partnerships to enhance positioning and create talking points, partnerships are becoming more mixed and varied. Up and coming brands are widening their reach with well-known brands, who in turn can freshen up the offer and help attract a younger customer base – the contemporary British label Hope & Ivy is finding opportunity with the traditional legacy of Liberty of London.
Social responsibility can also play an important part in the collaborations, clothing and knitwear designer, Hayley Menzies is celebrating a tenth year of business with a limited edition range of T-shirts supporting and donating to the work of WWF.
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Some matches are a little more unexpected – earlier this year, a favourite of outdoor enthusiasts and many a camera crew’s go-to – North Face partnered with luxury designers Gucci to form a collection of outerwear and accessories such as tents and sleeping bags.
This fusion of fashion and functionality saw specially-designed prints combining both brands’ iconic logos adorn longstanding North Face staples such as their padded coats and sturdy walking boots.
This tie-up aligned the sustainability policies of both brands and reflects the post-pandemic appetite for what Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele described as ‘the essential’ – a focus on the outdoors, connecting with nature and of course, respect for the planet and a drive towards sustainability.
With a North Face x Gucci tent costing £2,560.00, these ‘essentials’ aren’t priced for the average rambler, but the pieces will certainly ensure standout on well-trodden mountains and hills.
Another standout fashion collaboration for 2021 leapt beyond the industry norm when Adidas partnered with Danish toy manufacturer Lego on a range of clothing and footwear, for both adults and kids.
The collection features Adidas attire in primary colour blocks synonymous with the Lego bricks, whilst trainers can be customised with Lego pieces, enabling wearers to create a truly unique and customisable sneaker style which can be changed up every day.
This collaboration is another example of a fashion brand pushing boundaries and with the global fashion industry increasingly embracing gaming and technology, I’m sure there will be much more in store for 2021.
Diane von Furstenberg is a philanthropist, podcaster and fashion designer and is respected globally, with high-profile fans including ex FLOTUS Michelle Obama and Madonna. She created the iconic wrap dress and has enjoyed a brilliant and buoyant career by diversifying and staying relevant – from a successful home-shopping businesses, beauty and books.
The DVF collection with H&M is promoted as being “eye-catching pieces, colourful cushions, luxurious candles, statement posters with powerful messages”, and relevant for a generation reinvigorated into loving their homes “even a soft robe for lounging around’. Prices start at £17.99, allowing an accessible price-point for those with a designer eye to inject some of the infamous boldness and colour von Furstenberg is so well known for, into the home.
Vibrant cushions and posters are emblazoned with phrases like ‘love is life!’ and ‘own it’ – which is also the title of von Furstenberg’s latest book. The A-Z style guide Own It: The Secret to Life contains 268 pieces of life advice from the entrepreneur and philanthropist, with messaging complementing the mood of the homewares collection.
H&M says, “Her prints are bold and her words are powerful.” When it comes to von Furstenberg, this ethos extends way beyond any homewares collection – it’s a way of life and an engaging message to the H&M Home customer.
The collection will surely bring positive sales and customer engagement for H&M after announcing an 88% fall in profit in January this year.
It seems that brands are simply now not about just selling to the post-pandemic consumer, but offering holistic solutions to all aspects of their lives. And as consumers want to see much more understanding, relevance and authenticity from the brands they buy from and engage with, ensuring there is depth and meaning to brand partnerships simply beyond a product sales opportunity is key.