Sneaker Collaborations - Brands, Designers, Athletes and Influencers
Collaborations have marked there place in time within the sneaker game.
There are many critical points within the sneaker game that captures the essence of the sneaker culture with timely note worthy collaboration. The best collaborations reflect specific moments in their history.
Origin of collaborations the sneaker game
Collaboration range between working with brands or with influencer celebrities. In the past, they were based off sports superstars and athletes. Perhaps the most important and oldest of them is that of Chuck Taylor and Converse in 1934. From there, big names in sports created iconic silhouettes with various brands. Names like Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Walt Frazier, Stan Smith, and Archer Ashe, among others, shared their influence at the time with brands to create a collaboration.
The extraordinary phenomenon of Nike and Jordan gave rise to the brands seeing that this commercial event could be unprecedented. Many of them were still reluctant to decide to do it, but athletes, who at the time pulled the lights of the media reflectors and directly influenced the population to whom they wanted to sell.
All this changed when another industry began to influence user behavior through marketing.
The music industry began to influence fashion (the great dictator of trends), and that was how Run DMC, and Jay Z, among others, were now the protagonists of unprecedented releases. The reason is always in their power of influence and connection to specific markets.
Iconic branding collaborations
We would need more letters, time, and space to discuss them. But we can mention those that, according to sneaker media and streetwear culture, have named them iconic. This is mainly because its impact was so significant that even people not involved with the sneaker game knew how and when to get them.
RUN DMC and Adidas
One of the ones that gave rise to the sneaker game is what it is today. Run DMC was and will be critical in American music; whether you are a fan of hip-hop or not, this group set an essential standard by bringing the rhythms of the streets to streetwear. They inaugurated this concept and finished forging it by announcing their collaboration with Adidas, the German brand far from the spotlight of sport but close to those of music.
Jay-Z and Reebok
Like its first cousin Adidas, Reebok took a hip-hop icon and made it even more unforgettable by collaborating with him. By 2002 (the year collaboration emerged), Jay Z was already known as a producer rather than just a rapper. This led to many following his story; a kid from the streets became the mind behind significant gangs. Today his path is paved, but in 2002 that influence gave rise to a pair of Reeboks being able to call themselves Carter without fear of success.
Kanye West x Nike + Adidas
Kanye West's (Ye) path in the sneaker game has not been without glory. Since announcing his collaboration with Nike, he gave us a great taste of what he planned to be and do in this game. However, his arrival at Adidas not only transformed the culture but also the way of being seen (and acquired) by other markets. It put Adidas on the map like at no time before in history. The brand was above Nike for the first time, thanks to Yeezy. Even with its controversial departure, we cannot ignore what is imminent: this collaboration set a precedent in the sneaker game that was difficult for anyone to erase.
Virgil Abloh + Nike + Louis Vittion
But as always, someone came along to change the pattern. His name: Virgil Abloh, his brand: Off-White, his mission: throw away the success of Adidas. Who knew that a couple of letters and labels would do it? Of course, we understand that these elements are more than that, but a concept so straightforward was what Nike needed to retake its place after the vigorous shake that came to leave West. Although his departure shocked the world, his legacy is more potent than his sad passing, which took everyone by surprise but left a strong mark on the sneaker game.
The dynamic American designer, DJ, architect, and artist had founded his brand, Off-White, before joining the artistic direction for Louis Vuitton's menswear collections in March 2018. The genius designer made history as the first African-American artistic director at the helm of the French fashion house.
In just a few years, Virgil Abloh brilliantly shifted the codes of luxury fashion with his signature street style, while simultaneously maintaining the tradition and know-how of the French trunkmaker.
The highlight of his career at Louis Vuitton? His Fall-Winter 2020-2021 show, during which Virgil Abloh challenged what we knew about his aesthetic. The designer redefined the very term "streetwear" and looked toward traditional dress codes.
Rihanna and Puma
This is a collaboration that we could not fail to mention. When the brand took over Fenty's former singer and owner, Rihanna was experiencing one of her most prolific moments as an artist. She had decided to leave music but to approach makeup and fashion, two industries where she controlled and changed everything. Just as it did with Puma, which after years of playing hide-and-seek, emerged with various collaborations of pairs, one of them even being named "Pair of the Year" on one occasion.
Nike + Travis Scott
This is the perfect example of rappers being the new athletes. The rapper experienced a meteoric rise in mainstream popularity over the past few years, thanks in large part to his massively successful third studio album, Astroworld, and countless brand partnerships.
Nike has let Scott put his spin on various silhouettes ranging from Air Force 1s to Air Jordan 6s. Not everyone can say they’ve been able to play with the branding on one of the most iconic shoes ever made, or stamp their personal logo in place of a Jumpman. He has gotten to do both.
As Scott’s catalog of collabs continues to increase, we decided to take a look at some of his projects below. Much more to come.