The Latest in Brand Collaborations

words by Dechen Tan

In a constantly evolving market where consumers have fickle tastes, brands need to stay ahead of the curve by forming alliances to  create unique experiences for consumers.

This not only widens their consumer base by tapping on two pools of audience, there is added value when two brands have synergistic needs that create a strong collaborative product. Here’s a round-up of our picks in current collaborations that you may have missed.

1. Kipling x Keith Haring

Keith Haring’s distinctively bold linework have effectively filled gaps between artistry and activism throughout the past four decades, utilising hieroglyphic-inspired emblems to express his socio-political stance. Belgium-based bag designer Kipling pays homage to the late pop artist with the striking Kipling x Keith Haring collection that stands for inclusivity and the value of urban discovery through backpacks, totes, crossbodies and a luggage bag. Emulating Haring’s beginnings of accessible chalk drawings that overtook the blank spaces of the New York City Underground, the nylon bags in the lineup bear simplistic, yet highly recognisable characters; each line, cross and human figure representing an intricate symbolism exclusive to the political dictionary of the Keith Haring archives.

2. Coach x Jean-Michel Basquiat

Coach introduces its partnership with the estate of Neo-expressionist prodigy Jean-Michel Basquiat as part of its fall collection this year, amalgamating the vibrant paintings with the classic shapes of the luxury brand. Basquiat’s recurring motifs spill over to the leather and fabric exterior of the recently arrived series, tagging new silhouettes like the Triangle Bag 24 and Square Bag, as well as returning such as the Wells Backpack and Rogue 25 with the graffiti-style crowns and primitive scribblings that celebrate one of the biggest milestones in contemporary art.

3. LEGO Group x Levi’s

Since its origins, LEGO bricks have transcended beyond the category of children’s’ toys, amassing fans of all ages with the promise of endless entertainment only bound by the perimeters of one’s creativity and imagination. Leading denim jeans label Levi’s has released a collection of apparels in the signature LEGO primary colour palette, and they all feature a pliable silicone panel for the ultimate customisability. These customisable baseplates can be found affixed to a vast range of styles, including the all-time favourite Vintage Fit Trucker Jacket, multicoloured hoodies and the trendy Flat Brim Cap, each article coming with a bag of 110 LEGO Dots to unleash your inner creative designer within.

4. Timberland x Van Goathe

Outdoor gear manufacturer Timberland pledges its allegiance to the environment. Whilst not technically a brand collaboratin, its strong message that is pushed out as part of its “Nature Needs Heroes” campaign, is a step towards a sustainable future.

Timberland recognizes the detrimental impacts on the environment caused by the fashion industry, and collaborates with a spectrum of creatives, musicians and artists, including anime cult-favourite, Van Goaghe and Taiwanese actor, Yo Yang.

The brand seeks out to remedy this destructive cycle through regenerative agriculture and circular design. Its aim to reach a goal of sourcing 100% virgin natural materials to build their products by 2030 sees a future of zero waste for the brand, further enforcing the “inspired by nature” element that Timberland prides itself upon.

5. ASICS x Kiko Kostadinov

After seeing through the success of their preceding collaboration that was responsible for the widely-applauded GEL-BURZ 1, ASICS and Bulgarian menswear designer Kiko Kostadinov have decided to embark on a multi-year initiative, starting with the UB1-S GEL-KAYANO that is set for launch this November. The new chapter will have Kostadinov and his team on board with ASICS to advise on and curate the Japanese activewear company’s Sportstyle lineup, setting it apart from the previous co-branded partnership.