Collaborations were once considered a niche aspect of the fashion industry, but they have now become a standard strategy for competitive fashion brands to maintain relevance. To be considered truly modern, your brand needs to balance relatability and accessibility, while remaining inspiring and fresh. But no one does this alone, so here’s how to navigate brand collaborations in 2020, and do it right.
Strategize for the long-term
Don’t just think in terms of one collection or supporting one season. Start there, but also work on cultivating relationships with the designers with whom you decide to work. Be selective, and partner with someone you can see the potential of working with on future collaborations as well.
Your brand could take the approach that Moncler did with its Genius program, a cohort of partnerships with designers like Simon Rocha, Craig Green, and Pierpaolo Piccioli, to name a few. Moncler rolled these collaborations out throughout the year, bringing many of these designers back for a second season, and in the process, created a sense of creative continuity with their collaborations.
Position your collaboration to appeal to the youth
Earlier this year, classic, all-american fashion retailer GAP announced that it would join forces with the New York-based high-fashion label Telfar, a brand that has garnered massive appeal among Gen Z influencers and fashion enthusiasts alike, widely considered the “it” brand of the moment. While it seems like an unlikely pairing, it’s a mutually beneficial collaboration that will help bring a whole new demographic into GAP stores and refresh the brand’s image.
Working with and putting trust into young designers will not only broaden your brand’s appeal, it’s through these unlikely collaborations that we see the fashion landscape continue to evolve.
Stay authentic in voice and vision
While collaborations can be a great way for your brand to reach new audiences and gain new perspectives, it’s important that the collaborations you put out stay true to your brand’s vision. Don’t compromise when it comes to the integrity of your brand’s values, and choose designer partnerships wisely. Seek a designer who you feel is a good fit for your brand, and can expand its message without distorting it.
In 2020, collaborations have gone from “nice to have,” to a vital piece of the “modern” fashion brand toolkit. Keep these tips in mind when you’re scouting for new talent, and make the most of what a collaboration can do for your brand.