September 12, 2013 BY Aaron Kr. / 4
The sneaker collaboration as we know it was born when brands started teaming up with respected shops and artists to tell deeper and more personal stories through their shoes. In addition to giving the shoes that have been spawned from these joint-efforts added dimensions of creativity and originality, bringing in outside collaborators also made them feel more personal – something that has been proven to go a long way with consumers. These collab projects have also been proven to be a great way for companies to cross over and tap into the already established fanbases of each partner, making them an invaluable marketing tool to help create product buzz and attract new customers.
A certain level of prestige comes along with doing a sneaker collaboration. There’s an intrinsic sense of importance surrounding the actual products and a well-deserved feeling of pride for those involved in creating them. In the early days of these collab endeavors, however, it was a more one-sided exchange, where in most cases, it was the large brands reaching down to smaller entities with the dream opportunity to create a shoe together. While these projects did offer the aforementioned benefits for the sneaker brands as well, they were usually far more appreciated and beneficial to the visiting outsiders that got the great exposure and status boost of having their very own collab shoe.
Thanks to all the mutual success that has sprouted from these ventures, the general dynamics of the playing field have shifted, and nowadays, you never know what two heavyweight brands might join forces. These collaboration projects have proven to be an amazing promotional asset for all involved, and the time has come that all walks of the retail world seem eager for a juicy team-up. As a result, we’re now seeing sneaker brands able to create dual-branded products with high-end fashion labels and designers – a notion that would have been pretty unthinkable to both us and them just a few years ago.
The sneaker industry is booming and the fashion world has taken notice, even up at the top of the couture food chain. Several major fashion labels and designers have put their own spins on a variety of sneaker collaborations, and no brand has been at the center of more of them than Converse. They have led the sneaker charge into the high-fashion world with a variety of collections and one-offs with top designers and labels like John Varvatos, Missoni, Marimekko and Comme des Garçons to name just a few. This month, Converse will release their latest brush with fashion’s finest as they embark on a multi-shoe collection with acclaimed French fashion house, Maison Martin Margiela, for perhaps their most prestigious collaboration to date.