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In the efforts to attract new customers and increase revenues, fashion luxury companies explore new ways to modify the perception of brands and magnify their values. The blending of fashion with contemporary art is one of the effective solutions that may bring this quest to success. Nowadays, more and more luxury brands collaborate with artists to develop unique designs of apparel, accessories, and other elements of wardrobe. It is possible to say that such an approach to product development provides multiple advantages for luxury fashion enterprises. If you ever wanted to be an innovator in the fashion or any other industry, it might be useful for you to know what challenges and benefits the artist collaboration strategy and alike methods can bring to your business. To understand the background in which a creative approach may be advantageous, let me start with the review of problems that the luxury brands face today.
As stated by Codignola and Rancati (2016), the notion of luxury fashion is deeply interwoven with the concept of exclusivity. Nevertheless, the current market dynamics may largely contradict this concept. As the number of consumers of luxury products grows and companies go for an active expansion of their businesses in new markets, the volumes of production increase proportionally and, as a result, a lot of people buy similar fashion items. It is also observed that despite the booming interest of consumers in luxury fashion, they became much more attentive to pricing (Codignola & Rancati, 2016). The growth of demand in the off-price luxury market is the consequence of this trend.
As the conventional approaches to product development fail to support the concept of exclusivity in the present-day environment, the collaboration of luxury brands with artists comes to the rescue of the very essence of luxury fashion. Yves Carcelle, the president of LVMH, states: “collaborating with contemporary artists brings a new kind of creative fecundity to the product. It forces creativity that is different from that typically found in fashion” (Walsh, 2016, p. 31). The given statement reflects the core meaning of artist-brand collaboration. There may be many reasons why luxury brands would want to work with contemporary artists. As Walsh (2016) observes, attempts to innovate and advertise products are the major ones. It is possible to say that by working with artists, designers transform various pieces of the wardrobe into the art objects. In this way, fashion enterprises may promote the “exquisite taste” and sustain the luxury qualities of their brands, as well as their claim to “being bold and influential opinion leaders” (Walsh, 2016, p. 32).
The main advantages of collaboration with artists include the rise in brand awareness, the development of competitive advantages through product differentiation, and the creation of new partnerships. Kim, Ko, Lee, Mattila, and Kim (2014) note that such collaborations can provoke a positive response in luxury fashion consumers, stimulate the development of the lifetime value and customer loyalty. As stated by Chailan (2017) the binding with artists largely helps emphasize the luxury uniqueness and, as I said before, this quality is the most valued by all luxury fashion purchasers.
The major players in the luxury fashion often drew their inspiration from art since the very dawn of the industry. For example, “in 1920s Paris coincided nicely with the city’s avant-garde art movement, led by the Cubists Picasso and Braque, along with the Dadaists and Surrealists Marcel Duchamp, Man Ray, Jean Cocteau, and Salvador Dalí” (Yotka, 2017, para. 2). Nowadays, Louis Vuitton can be considered a leader in collaborating with contemporary artists. The brand developed garments with such renowned representatives of the art scene as Takashi Murakami in 2007, Richard Prince in 2008, Yayoi Kusama, and Daniel Buren in 2012, Dinos and Jake Chapman in 2013, and so on (Cohn, 2013).
However, a recent collaboration between Prada and James Jean is one of my personal favorites. The artist designed stylish illustrations for Prada’s textiles, which endowed the whole collection with psychedelic and dreamlike qualities. It is worth noticing that brands collaborate with artists not only to design clothes but also to create retail point props and advertising. For instance, in 2007, Christian Louboutin worked with one of the most eccentric and artistic modern filmmakers, David Lynch, to create photographs for the designer’s new footwear collection (Cohn, 2013). In this way, the collaboration elevated the advertisement campaign to the heights of the cinematic art, changed the whole perception of the collection, and drew the attention of the director’s audience to the world of fashion.
The provided examples demonstrate the importance of innovation in the fashion business. However, these findings can be applied to many other industries as well. No matter what the specialization of your business is, if you want to attract new consumers, convey your ideas to them, and improve brand perception, it can be useful to bring a little bit of art and creativity in your marketing strategies and product development techniques. In this way, you will be able to increase the value of your brand and introduce something new and unique to the market.
Chailan, C. (2017). Art as a means to recreate luxury brands rarity and value. Web.
Codignola, F., & Rancati, E. (2016). The blending of luxury fashion brands and contemporary art. Web.
Cohn, H. (2013). The 50 best artist collaborations in fashion. Web.
Kim, K., Ko, E., Lee, M., Mattila, P., & Kim, K. H. (2014). Fashion collaboration effects on consumer response and customer equity in global luxury and SPA brand marketing. Journal of Global Scholars of Marketing Science, 24(3), 350-364.
Yotka, S. (2017). Is Fashion Art? Debate That While Wearing These Artist-Made Clothes. Vogue. Web.