Are Too Many Collaborations Diluting Hype?

New research from EDITED — a leading data company that works with brands and retailers across the world — is asking if fashion has reached peak collaboration. It’s something Hypebeast dissected upon the arrival of Balenciaga x adidas, and while we came to the conclusion that brands could be pushing the limit too far, it seems there’s more to unpack, notably how too many collaborations could be diluting hype and hysteria. 

EDITED asks if today’s collaborations hold as much power and influence over the consumer as they used to. Throw it back to 2017’s link-up between Louis Vuitton and Supreme, a partnership that defined street style for years to come and arguably paved the way for the high-low collaborative aesthetic that has since inspired the likes of Jacquemus x Nike, Gucci x adidas, or YEEZY GAP. Likewise, Dior’s take on Jordan Brand was an instant success, selling out in minutes. But today, the effect of “insert collaboration here” is far from our past reality.

YEEZY GAP ENGINEERED BY BALENCIAGA‘s hoodie now sells for a 33% premium, far from the 400% markup that came with LV x Supreme. Balenciaga and Gucci’s Hacker Project did sell out online instantly, but it took 34 days to sell out across the U.S., U.K., South Korea, China, Japan and Hong Kong, considering that 15% of the products were restocked — something that was never part of the collaborative recipe only a few years ago.

Furthermore, 70% of YEEZY GAP ENGINEERED BY BALENCIAGA is still available on GAP’s U.S. website, while 68% of Gucci x adidas is available today. The question EDITED asks is: are brands taking a new stance on collaboration, in turn “focusing on accessibility and long-term partnerships rather than exclusivity?”

In some ways, it could be. If the whole point of hype is that there is a buzz, an air of exclusivity and “must-cop” consumerism that pushes things to be sold out in the blink of an eye, what is hype about something anyone can buy anywhere at any time?

From more accessible price points to the increase in high-low brand-meets-brand team-ups, collaborations have become a part of our everyday shopping habits. Every brand wants a slice of the collaborative action, in turn diluting the essence of what makes a collaboration special. Perhaps that’s no longer the point; instead, we all get to join in on what feels like a special version of a brand’s usual work.

As a result of collaborations’ commonality, hype is looking like it’s dying down. Nowadays, a collaboration is less of an IYKYK concept and more a part of an expanding brand identity, bringing two entities together to tap into their respectively unaware markets and audiences. Per EDITED, “While there will still be interest in new drops, 2022 and beyond will see an increased pressure on brand partnerships to create something special in order to cut through the noise and avoid becoming ‘just another collaboration’.”

Despite EDITED’s research, there’s a silver lining. Fashion is establishing a visual relationship between itself, a collaborator, and the consumer, and per EDITED, this is “evident by higher replenishment rates and products staying in stock longer,” in turn becoming just another part of the brand for all to enjoy. Sound off with your opinions below, and find out more on EDITED.

In other news, Supreme has unveiled its Fall/Winter 2022 collection.
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