It could be argued that despite the birth of brand-to-brand collaborations in the late-’90s, the last decade has seen a massive surge of creative partnerships. Luxury fashion houses have elevated high street brands with iconography, celebrities and designers introduced a new wave of covetable sneakers and street culture has seeped into the runway landscape. It could be thanks to the irreversible rise of social media or growing consumer demand and no longer are bold design cues or twice-seasonal collections enough suppress the appetite of a brand’s fanfare, nor is it enough for some labels to keep its client base. Loyalty is rare to find.
Nevertheless, with the arrival of competitive collaborations has in turn ushered a whole new era of style. In 2018, Moncler established its ‘Genius’ initiative by abolishing the twice-yearly cycle of runway presentations, instead, revealing designer collaborations each month. For the first time, Dior collaborated with street artist KAWS as it marked Kim Jones debut collection as artistic director for menswear. And 2019 brought a somewhat surprising collaborative effort from Palace and Polo Ralph Lauren. But as we look over the past decade, it marked some historic movements in fashion. These are the collaborations that are instantly recognisable and more so, led the way for brands to follow.
Versace x H&m – 2011
Before H&M made its way Down Under and seeped into just about every other country imaginable, the fast fashion giant tapped Donatella Versace for a collaborative collection highlighting the famed baroque on affordable pieces in the US. As expected the collection sold out immediately after a New York runway presentation. It followed a Lanvin collaboration with the apparel store in 2010 before the Swedish multinational then looked to Maison Margiela in 2012 and Alexander Wang in 2014.
hermés x apple watch – 2015
It was one of the most surprising collaborations from the past decade but one of the most iconic. Two leaders in respective fields, luxury fashion and trailblazing technology, Apple looked to the pinnacle of luxury leather goods, Hermés for a simple yet equally important collaboration. Bringing to life the possibility of wearable technology, the fashion house created several leather bands for Apple before the likes of Coach and Fendi followed suit.
supreme x louis vuitton – 2017
It’s true. There is only a small group of brands left that haven’t collaborated with streetwear giant Supreme. But when Louis Vuitton was tapped for a menswear collection, it was perhaps the most hyped collaboration of the year, if not the decade. The basis on which the collaboration was formed – logomania fused with extreme exclusivity – marked a new era of reselling. The asking price for a preowned hoodie? Reportedly a cool $29,999 USD.
nike x virgil abloh “the ten” – 2017
Virgil Abloh was certainly not the first designer to collaborate with a sneaker brand, but thanks to his coveted label Off-White, the creative shot to stardom thanks to his silhouettes that boasted OTT branding and unique style cues. With growing success, sneakers giants hopped on board with the aesthetic. So when Nike joined forces with the designer for “The Ten” collaboration, it was expected to be a sure-fire, sell out mania. And it was. Across a number of iconic swoosh silhouettes, Abloh added his signature orange zip tag and bold font and is now instantly recognised across the globe.