In a market where competition has increased over time, even successful companies need to come up with new ideas to expand their brand exposure. This is why co-branding has become more widespread and it has proved to have several benefits. Besides improving the brand image, partnership is a way of enabling brands to compete in new markets, offering unique competitive advantages in their own markets, and even a way of gaining new distribution.
Various fashion companies have embraced collaborations and most of these joint ventures have turned out to be very successful. H&M is without any doubts a leader in this field. Every November a capsule collection made in collaboration with a high-fashion brand is launched. The most successful designer collaboration ever was Balmain x H&M, sold in 2014. At the launch, numerous people waited outside the stores for more than 12 hours before the collection went on sale. The web was flooded with images of the event, and on the following days some garments were sold online at three or four times their original prices, similar to Balmain main line prices.
Other successful collaborations have been less conventional than the ones between two fashion brands. For example, Louis Vuitton has partnered with BMW, the German car maker, to create a tailored-made set of luggage crafted in carbon fiber for the launch of the BMW i8 plug-in hybrid. For the visionary design of the car, innovation was key to the joint project, as declared by Louis Vuitton Head of Special Orders: “This collaboration with BMW epitomizes our shared values and creativity, technological innovation and style. This is a pure expression of the art of travel”.
Another company which is joining collaborations of a different kind is Coca-Cola. The successful beverage company has collaborated with a wide number of fashion designers to create glass bottle design, with the secondary goal of having its name on various catwalks. Sophia Webster, the young shoe-designer, teamed up with Coca-Cola for the Autumn/Winter collection in 2015, promoted by Rita Ora, the famous American singer. For the occasion, the designer expressively affirmed how much this partnership had brought high visibility to her fashion brand, and at the same time, this was a perfect way for Coca-Cola to expand their marketing strategies, which has been always famous for their efficacy.
In occasion of the Salone del Mobile in Milan inaugurated on the 4th of April, the famous Italian maison, Dolce & Gabbana, launched its collaboration with Smeg, an Italian home appliance manufacturer. They presented a new collection of domestic kitchen items, entitled “Sicily is my love”, a recurring theme on DG catwalks, that best suits their brand identity. The appliances are laden with typical Sicilian decorations and ornamentations, golden yellow lemons, vibrant citrus fruits, and deep purple figs drawn from the coasts and landscapes of southern Italy. This joint collection is not the first one of these Italian brands, indeed last year at the design week 2016, they collaborated to create a line of fridges, entirely painted by craftsmen, sold at prices around €30,000.
Now, just let your imagination run wild, which collaboration would you like to see in the future?
by Beatrice Bolis