Celebrity Collaborations Encourage the Young Generation to Shop
This article was published in Fordham University’s Newspaper – The Observer.
Whether it’s high to low fashion collaborations such as Balmain x H&M, or celebrity endorsed collections such as the recent Rihanna x Puma, fashion is finding alternative ways to reach shoppers, especially young shoppers. Celebrity collaborations are surely a sales strategy to promote certain brands, but how do celebrities work with these brands, and how are their targeted shoppers, the Millennials, reacting to these collections?
Fashion collaborations can be dated back to 1983 when American Designer Roy Halston Frowick launched a line with JC Penny, but the collection was poorly received and discontinued, according to E! News. Unexpectedly, what everybody thought was a poor decision back then became a popular trend of fashion making in the 21st century.
“Fashion designers are often celebrities in their own right, and when they collaborate with existing brands or companies, like Lemaire with Uniqlo last year, there tends to be lots of hype around those releases,” Aimee Williams, professor of Fashion Journalism, said. “There are countless other examples. Alexander Wang with H&M did very well.”
According to Williams, the common direction of these collaborations is from high to low, labeling the high fashion brands’ exclusive names on more accessible fast-fashion brands. “If you notice, high fashion designers will do projects with fast-fashion retailers, distilling a coveted aesthetic, like Rodarte for Target or Balmain for H&M, and making it available to many,” Williams said.
Besides these celebrity designer collaborations, an example of a celebrity endorsed fast fashion would be the supermodel Gigi Hadid and Tommy Hilfiger line presented during Fall 2016 New York Fashion Week. In hope of reaching younger age shoppers, Hadid had revived the classic American aesthetics of Tommy Hilfiger by incorporating this year’s hot pieces, such as bomber and faux fur jackets and cropped flare jeans. When we think of Gigi Hadid, we imagine her wearing short tops and pieces that would emphasize longer legs, which is exactly how the new Tommy girl looks – a classic American beauty with an unconventional individualism.
“The line is very much on trend. There’s Tommy’s nautical prints of the time but there is also boyfriend jeans and bomber jackets,” said Kelsey Tetzlaff, Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) ’17. “Things you wouldn’t necessarily see from Tommy Hilfiger in the past. It was more like trendy, model-off-duty look.”
As a college student, Tetzlaff thinks that the collection is on a decent price point for designer made goods with celebrity endorsement, with sweatshirts for $95 and skinny fit jeans for $185. However, when there’s the option of cheaper fast fashion, Tetzlaff usually wouldn’t spend her money on medium price designer clothes.
“You also have to consider if I am a college girl who loves Gigi Hadid but I am not really into the Tommy Hilfiger brand, but I see that she’s collaborating with him, I might be more inclined to buy that product because I just love this influencer,” Tetzlaff said. “These collaborations have a tendency to persuade people to buy a product they otherwise wouldn’t have just because of the name that’s attached to it.”
Another example is the Italian fashion house Missoni collaborating with American footwear company Converse. When the iconic Missoni print clashes with the signature Converse style, the result product is an amalgamation of the fashion pride between the two countries.
“I love the missoni print. My mom used to have this Missoni scarf. It is the heritage of the brand, and the print means so much.” Ella Grace, FCLC ’19, said. She mentioned that because of her mother, the Missoni print has a personal meaning to her – elegance. “It’s [Missoni print] beautiful. It catches the eye, and you have it on cheaper products,” Grace said.
The price point for Missoni can be high. Long cardigans are around $1,300 to $2,000, coats are around $3,000 to $4,000, and scarves are from $100 to $600. However, in this collaboration, the Converse shoes with Missoni prints range from $65 to $140.
Regarding the price of the collection, Grace said it went up compared to the regular converse. “They went up, but I think it’s to be expected with the high-end brand,” Grace said.
“I wear sneakers a lot and I find that more and more people are wearing sneakers. They are sneakers elevated in a way that people are like ‘Wow. That’s so cute,’” She said.