Celebrity Collaborations Encourage the Young Generation


Supermodel Gigi Hadid collaborated with fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger to create a youthful and exciting collection. (PANDALOVEPHOTOGRAPHY/FLICKR)


Supermodel Gigi Hadid collaborated with fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger to create a youthful and exciting collection. (PANDALOVEPHOTOGRAPHY/FLICKR)
Supermodel Gigi Hadid collaborated with fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger to create a youthful and exciting collection (PANDALOVEPHOTOGRAPHY/ FLICKR)

Whether it’s high-to-low fashion collaborations such as Balmain x H&M or celebrity-endorsed collections such as the recent Rihanna x Puma, fashion is finding alternative ways to reach shoppers, especially young shoppers. Celebrity collaborations are surely a sales strategy to promote certain brands, but how do celebrities work with these brands? How are their targeted shoppers, the millennials, reacting to these collections?

Fashion collaborations date back to 1983 when American designer Roy Halston Frowick launched a line with JC Penny. However, according to a report by E! News, the collection was poorly received and discontinued. Unexpectedly, what everybody thought was a poor decision back then became a popular trend of fashion making in the 21st century.

Aimee Williams, a professor in the Communication and Media Studies department at Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC), clarified that there are possible ways for fashion to collaborate. “Fashion designers are often celebrities in their own right, and when they collaborate with existing brands or companies, like Lemaire with Uniqlo last year, there tends to be lots of hype around those releases,” she said. “There are countless other examples. Alexander Wang with H&M did very well.”

Williams is now teaching fashion journalism, a course being offered at FCLC for the first time. The course fulfills requirements for both the journalism major and the fashion studies minor.

According to Williams, the common direction of these collaborations is from high to low, labeling the high fashion brands’ exclusive names on more accessible fast-fashion brands. “If you notice, high fashion designers will do projects with fast-fashion retailers, distilling a coveted aesthetic, like Rodarte for Target or Balmain for H&M, making it available to many,” Williams said.

Besides these high to low fashion collaborations, an example of a celebrity-endorsed fast fashion would be supermodel Gigi Hadid and Tommy Hilfiger’s line presented during Fall 2016 New York Fashion Week. In hopes of reaching younger shoppers, Hadid revived the classic American aesthetics of Tommy Hilfiger by incorporating this year’s hot pieces, such as bomber and faux fur jackets and cropped flare jeans. When we think of Gigi Hadid, we imagine her wearing short tops and pieces that would emphasize long legs, which is exactly how the new Tommy girl looks—a classic American beauty with an unconventional individualism.

“The line is very much on trend. There’s Tommy’s nautical prints of the time, but there is also boyfriend  jeans and bomber jackets, things you wouldn’t necessarily see from Tommy Hilfiger in the past. It was more like trendy, model-off-duty look,” Kelsey Tetzlaff, FCLC ’17, said.

As a college student, Tetzlaff thinks that the collection hits a decent price point for designer-made goods with a celebrity endorsement, ranging from sweatshirts for $95 to skinny fit jeans for $185. However, when there’s the option of cheaper fast-fashion, Tetzlaff usually wouldn’t spend her money on moderately-priced designer clothes.

“You also have to consider if I am a college girl who loves Gigi Hadid, but I am not really into the Tommy Hilfiger brand, but I see that she’s collaborating with him, I might be more inclined to buy that product because I just love this influencer,” Tetzlaff said. “These collaborations have a tendency to persuade people to buy a product they otherwise wouldn’t have just because of the name that’s attached to it.”

Another example is the Italian fashion house Missoni collaborating with American footwear company Converse. When the iconic Missoni print clashes with the signature Converse style, the resulting product is an amalgamation of the fashion pride between the two countries.

“I love the Missoni print. My mom used to have this Missoni scarf. It is the heritage of the brand, and the print means so much,” Ella Grace, FCLC ’19, said. She mentioned that because of her mother, the Missoni print has a personal meaning to her—elegance. “[Missoni print] beautiful. It catches the eye, and you have it Xon cheaper products,” Grace said.

The price point for Missoni can be high. Long cardigans are around $1,300 to $2,000, coats are around $3,000 to $4,000 and scarves are around $100 to $600. However, in this collaboration, the Converse shoes with Missoni prints range in price from $65 to $140.

Grace noted the price increase compared to the regular Converse. “They went up, but I think it’s to be expected with the high-end brand.”

“I wear sneakers a lot and I find that more and more people are wearing sneakers. They are sneakers elevated in a way that people are like ‘Wow. That’s so cute,’” she said.

In the coming seasons, we can expect to see collaborations dominate the fashion world. Stay tuned, as hopes of your favorite brands joining forces may come to fruition.