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Thread: Please Let 2018 Be the Last Year of Pointless Collaborations

  1. #1

    Default Please Let 2018 Be the Last Year of Pointless Collaborations

    by Eugene Rabkin

    "If you read this publication chances are you own something from a collab, a shorthand term for a collaboration between two brands. The fact that there is a term “collab,” already speaks to the significance and omnipresence of collaborations. It seems like there are now at least several collaborations announced every week: Supreme x The North Face, Polo Ralph Lauren x Palace, Virgil Abloh x Everyone and Their Mother.

    There is nothing wrong with collabs per se—a good collab can lead to a fresh take on a tried-and-true product, take a brand out of its comfort zone, and create something genuinely new. It can give a designer a chance to bring a honed perspective to another industry, or provide access to materials and means of production he or she otherwise wouldn’t have. Of course, collabs have become a vital source for one’s brand image and publicity. Even if collaborations don’t provide a major revenue source, they bring brand awareness and keep the marketing/publicity/media treadmill going. Not all of us may like it, but such is the consequence of our fast-paced consumerist world.

    Many collaborations make sense for reasons outlined above. When for example, Junya Watanabe brings his brilliant deconstruction skills to a Levi’s product or Chitose Abe of Sacai to that of The North Face, or Craig Green and Kei Ninomiya bring their magic to Moncler, something worthwhile is born. When NEIGHBORHOOD collaborates with Dr. Martens, its biker ethos can be closely aligned with the ethos of Docs.

    There are collaborations that are cringe-worthy in their pathetic attempt to chase the millennial customer—that elusive unicorn that’s responsible for a lot of anxiety in corporate boardrooms. But as the number of collaborations in the past couple of years have grown exponentially, they have become more and more indiscriminate, and sometimes downright absurd—an inevitable consequence when brands begin to run out of options.

    The undisputed king here is Virgil Abloh, whose greatest achievement is to slap quotation marks on everything he can get his hands on. And these days he gets his hands on everything from IKEA furniture to Moet champagne."

    Full article on Highsnobiety

  2. #2


    I don't think collabs are going anywhere any time soon. They're making companies too much money right now. It does represent something interesting though (aside from the continued dilution of each culture facet of culture that's supposed to be enhanced in a collab). For the longest time the fashion industry dripped with disdain at the very thought of collaborating with anything not explicitly high culture. People like Virgil Abloh would never have been anywhere near a high fashion label, let alone creative director. Ripping of the poor in the latest collection would be unthinkable. Now these labels are so desperate to court the confusing new demographic they're whoring themselves out.

    It might be tempting to say this democratization of fashion is a good thing, but all it's really doing is exploiting various sectors of society for a cheap buck - sounds a lot like literal prostitution. One positive that could come from all this is that when this house of cards comes crashing down - and it will because this shit isn't sustainable - maybe they'll go back to proper design. I never thought I'd long for the days of Marc Jacobs. But recent events at Calvin Klein suggest otherwise. When these milquetoast collabs die, something else equally banal will take their place. I don't think mainstream fashion will produce anything noteworthy for the foreseeable future.

    As for productive collabs, Maurizio Altieri and Alessio Zero was one of the best I've seen recently. For me it turned Layer-0 into the best footwear label in this sphere. The quality was always there, but the design improved so much. I thought BBS x A1923 also produced good shoes (that was Simone making shoes for BBS, but from what I know BBS had some input - I may be wrong though). More mainstream, I think Alexander McQueen x Shaune Leane produced a very interesting take on jewelry. I think these kinds of collaborations are still going on, but of course they're very sdifferemnt from somethinng like NIGOS x KFC.
    An artist is not paid for his labor, but for his vision. - James Whistler

    Quote Originally Posted by BBSCCP View Post
    I order 1 in every size, please, for every occasion

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