THE NEW TREND BETWEEN AVANT-GARDE AND MASS MARKET BRANDS
The use of intra-industrial co-branding within fashion has increased dramatically over the last decades, and during the last years a particular phenomenon on this direction is the co-branding between avant-garde fashion companies and mass-market fashion and even sport brands.
(Maison Martin Margiela x H&M Advertising Campaign)
This type of collaborations are often mainly marketed by the mass fashion/ sport brand, while the avant-garde designer has a role of a design licensor. The collaboration collections further vary in size, some avant-garde designers create full size collections, like Comme des Garçons for H&M, while other collaborate on a limited part of the assortment, such as Rick Owens designing shoes for Adidas. The design approach and expression of the collaboration collections are also diverse; contrasting examples are Martin Margiela who in his collaboration with H&M created re-editions of old collections and Rick Owens who in his most recent collaboration with Adidas created a progressive design very much in line with his current collections.
The co-branding operation include in its nature opportunities and threats for both the sides. The mass-market fashion /sport brand generally increase its perception of fashionability and its design rising its brand image. In the case of mass-market sport brands they are also able to increase their lifestyle segment and their market share due to the trend for which (especially in the women segment) also in sport there is no more performance without style. From the other side, the avant-garde brand gain financial revenues through direct sales or licensee, increase his awareness, increase the market share but on the opposite expose itself to the risk of affecting its brand image and on long term also its brand identity.
In order to avoid these threats and increase the profitability of the operation, the focus has to be pointed on the innate characteristic of the brands. Both brands have to be coherent in brand image, values, communication archetypes and have a compatible positioning.