Collaborations, collaborations, collaborations - what was once a scarcity is now a normality.
Both brands, established and emerging have discovered the trick in partnering laterally and vertically to spread their reach amongst new audiences and for most, it's worked. These brand partnerships have been around for years but in recent times we've seen a surge in fashion cross pollinating their audiences. We've now reach a balanced point in time where you have accessible collaborations with accessible product, as well as more lofty, high priced collabs - the choice is yours really. We've listed a few of our favourites at htown from this year.
ERL x Dior Homme:
What better than to kick off with the 'King of Collabs' - Kim Jones. For SS23, Dior Homme invited guest designer Eli Russel Linnetz (ERL) to infuse "90s glamour and elevated, modern-day skate punk" into the runway. Jones has a superior track record of successful brand/designer collaborations, from Supreme x Louis Vuitton, to Matthew Williams of 1017 Alyx and Yoon Ahn of AMBUSH; this was another one of those moments, where we were able to see a beautiful crossroad of historical elegance and chic mixed with a fresh, youthful vibrancy. Keep your eyes peeled for ERL Designed Dior next season.
Martine Rose x Nike:
For what feels like a lifelong successful partnership, this was Martine Rose's second collaboration with sneaker giants Nike. Paying homage to women in football as well as underground British subcultures, the Nike Shox MR4 was presented in June 2022 at her London show - in Black & Red and White. Taking an unusual but usual form, for Martine and her clan, these creps are in fact a mule with a heightened heel, you can see emphasised by the colour blocking. This model is synonymous with Grime culture, there's nods to Skepta's collab with Nike too that released in September 2019. Martine says to Vogue "I knew that I wanted to use the shox profile, which in the UK has a particular sort of resonance in that it’s always been an underground shoe that everyone has worn".
Rose's approach to design repurposed the context of this sneaker, evidenced by her fans styling the Shox with formal trousers and shirts, as well as her campaign with Nike, spotlighting Women with an undeniable commitment and love to the sport. It really is a "beautiful shape".
Y/Project x Jean Paul Gaultier:
Glenn Martens has been a designer you absolutely could not escape this year. Being creative director of Diesel & Y/Project, while also guest designing for JPG, he's had probably the most fun you could have, whilst having a hectic schedule. When you work for one of the most exciting, talked about brands as well as undergoing a positive revival for another it must be draining to still squeeze out a good collaboration but no, Glenn was up for the challenge.
You could say there's been some flirting going on, which isn't uncommon for Monsieur Jean Paul Gaultier. His style is sexy, playful & exudes confidence - adored by many. Y/Project merges particularly well via their experimental, double-take designs. This collaboration was received exceptionally well by nostalgic OGs as well as new internet era Gen-Z's.
Aries x AS Roma:
Probably one of the freshest collabs on this list, it only just came out but it's definitely up there as a top tier collaboration. Football meeting fashion isn't as easy as you think, the multitudes of team x brand partnerships don't evidence how easy it is for the whole thing to go wrong. However, something about this Aries x AS Roma collaboration made sense; whether its the Italian finesse, or the British rawness, it doesn't matter - the jerseys and track sets hit.
JW Anderson x Uniqlo:
Last but not least, we have our very own Jonathan Anderson. Probably a collab that went slightly under the radar but JW needs no introduction, his brand has been active since 2007 and he's covered all the grounds he needs to qualify as an established fashion label. Teaming up with uniqlo to deliver minimal, staple pieces was very clutch and necessary. For his diehard fans and casual uniqlo shoppers, there was a piece for everyone with the ultimate stimulus of coziness.
We're excited to see how much more wow factor brands can give us, whether they remain as an in-fashion collaborations or decide to test the waters of new territories These new expected collaborations are amazing ways for both parties to express their creative visions and share narratives to new people. Stay tuned for what's next at htown.co.uk.
By Luca Allick-Smith