How A Collaboration Saved Crocs From Dying
Collaborations used to be a rare thing in the fashion industry. With the fear of tarnishing a luxury house’s name, high-end labels rarely ever partnered with another brand, designer or influencer for fashion collaborations. But sometimes in order to survive, brands need to either rebrand or collaborate with other fashion designers and influencers to make a comeback.
Fashion collabs used to be reserved for streetwear brands — like Supreme or adidas — that partnered up with Louis Vuitton and Alexander Wang accordingly. However, things have since changed. The fashion landscape has become increasingly levelled, meaning limited edition collaboration pieces are proving to be beneficial for both parties involved.
Collaborating with different fashion labels and influencers helps dying brands survive by keeping them top of pop culture and current trends. Unexpected connections are increasingly cool and add to a brand’s authenticity, making outdated fashion brands seem new and exciting again.
One of the most recent collaboration examples would be that of Christopher Kane and Crocs, who debuted a new line of earthy-hued, geode and rhinestone embellished Crocs at his Spring 2018 runway show. But this isn’t Kane’s first collab with the Colorado-based shoe company. The designer has collaborated with Crocs for three consecutive runway seasons, further highlighting the ugly shoe trend which started back in 2013 with the comeback of Birkenstocks and Tevas. Now it’s the new normal to spot ugly-chi footwear on the runway; look at Preen’s Ugg flatforms or chunky sneakers from Gucci, Balenciaga, Acne and Raf Simons. Whether you’re for or against Crocs, Kane’s collaboration with them is onto something.
The joint collections between Christopher Kane and Crocs have allowed the high fashion brand to tap into the mass market, offering its designs for prices more people can afford. The result is increased brand awareness across a more diverse audience that would otherwise be unachievable for a luxury fashion brand. Aside from an increase in fanfare, collaborations also often create one of a kind, collectable pieces that consumers flock to.
But Kane isn’t the only designer doing this. One major example would be H&M and their annual partnerships. The affordable, Swedish fashion brand has worked with everyone from Versace to Lanvin to Karl Lagerfeld, and most recently, Kenzo and Canadian fashion brand ERDEM.
Taking note from Kane, Demna Gvasalia for Balenciaga jumped on the Crocs bandwagon, showcasing his own Crocs creation in Paris — a nearly four-inch platform Croc shoe, customized with Balenciaga-branded Jibbitz. This design went on to create quite the stir on social media and among media outlets. Vogue said the ugly shoe trend is “funny, freaky and not exactly come-hither… but maybe that’s the point,” while the debate of whether or not Crocs should be a part of the high fashion world nearly tore the GQ team apart.
The Balenciaga design cultivated over 9,000 likes on Instagram and more than 2,200 comments, adding to the polarity of the brand. Many celebrities and their children have been spotted wearing Crocs since including that of Brooke Shields, Jared Leto, Steven Tyler, Jennifer Garner and more. This is all proof that high-end collaborations work by reviving tired brands and their products into must-have items.
Of course, some collaborations are more successful than others with the potential of failure looming, but Kane x Crocs shows that the risk is worth the reward. With its current high-end collabs and rising fashion cred, Crocs is banking on a moment of chicness now more than ever. The brand’s range of affordable, limited edition Christopher Kane clogs has propelled both labels into new and exciting markets that target millennials. Next Spring, Crocs is planning to release even more fashion-forward styles, because there is, in fact, a market for designer clogs.
Struggling brands need to rise to the challenge by embracing the millennial market with a revamp, and collaborations are proving to be an optimal starting point.
What do you think about this fashion collaboration? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Featured Image: Instagram/@crocs
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Brooklyn is a Toronto-based journalist and if she isn’t writing, you can find her enjoying a nice glass of merlot. She is a lover of good books, Sunday brunches and running around the city with her girl gang. She’s your basic Blair Waldorf in a world of Jenny Humphrey’s. You can follow her on Twitter @BNeustaeter.