Now Reading: Fashion Collaborations: From Niche to Mainstream


Fashion Collaborations: From Niche to Mainstream

August 2, 20174 min read


Brands such as American Apparel and BCBG are struggling to survive in today’s age of quick demand, fast fashion. However, once rusting brands like Puma and Tommy Hilfiger are growing stronger – and it’s all thanks to the rich and famous and their ability to trend-set.

Matt Powell, a sneaker sales analyst, believes that Rihanna’s collaboration with Puma completely changed Puma’s business around when he tweeted about the ‘Rihanna effect’ in November 2016. Bloomberg’s Marketing magazine even reported that sneakers alone designed by Rihanna helped top Puma’s estimated fourth-quarter earnings. Bloomberg also reported that Puma’s revenue rose 17%. Another prime example of the power of a celebrity endorsement in today’s fashion business is the Calvin Klein #mycalvins campaign. Calvin Klein, which before Bella Hadid was anything but sexy and glamorous, received monumental amounts of exposure because of its celebrity. And just like celebrities, the successful designers have adapted to marketing via social media maximizing newfound online distribution.

Fashion is a business and it has to sell clothes. What seems eyebrow raising and new within modern fashion is celebrity worship. Designers are using profitable names like the Kardashians to wear their clothes… just so they can endorse the brand. Just like in the Elizabethan Era, artists like Da Vinci only painted to make a profit. His art was like none other, but he hated to paint and he just needed a paycheck. The thing about the fashion industry is that it is very good at getting you to not read the fine print. The fashion world is divided into two groups: the artists and the salesmen. If your love for fashion and creation is bigger than your fear of becoming a sellout, then fashion may not be for you after all.

“Balmain refers to its insiders as an ARMY. The brand wants the consumer to become a soldier in an ideological war against all of its competitors. Once you have been recruited you now have the brand ideology as a path to higher social status. This status implies your cultural and social superiority. Since Supreme is ideologically positioned as more culturally relevant than the Gap, by wearing something with a Supreme letterbox logo you are announcing your class and identity supremacy.” – Steve Oklyn of

Collaborating brands such as Supreme, or Louis Vuitton can be understood as a marketing strategy – and sold as art.These collaborations and strategies are targeted at the social media obsessed generation. This generation of teens and millennials is made up of spenders who are constantly immune to online advertising – whether they know it or not. Millennials buy expensive cult-cut clothes and sneakers because they don’t know any better, and consume what is being shown to them on their personal feed.

During the 1950s, when Tiffany’s was unattainable to both Holly Golightly and fans of fashion, there was no mass-marketed manufacturer. Fashion was a dream, and luxury was something spectacular to see. The concept of celebrity endorsements began with cigarette ads featuring movie stars and comedians. Now, celebrity endorsement has become the most powerful marketing technique in fashion. Fashion luxury was once a niche industry, and today it has become a manufacturer-made mass market. This allows the primary target of mass marketers to become the youth. The youth market has always existed, but today the youth market has never been so closely tied with the fashion industry as it is now.

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