Celebrating Shared History

Collaboration partners across categories come together for a variety of reasons. One driver for the creation of collaborative collections that has been gradually gaining steam has been the partners’ shared history and/or geography:

  • Red Wing Boot’s collaboration with Indian Motorcycle, marking the former’s first foray into motorcycle boots, played on the companies’ shared history. Both were founded within four years of each other more than 110 years ago and both have a reputation in common for American-made quality and craftsmanship. Their respective headquarters are currently 80 miles apart.
  • In honor of its 10th anniversary, the marketer of the word game Bananagrams collaborated with Narragansett Beer for a limited-edition brew under the latter’s “Hi Neighbor!” label. Both are located near Providence, Rhode Island. Narragansett’s “Hi Neighbor!” line includes a variety of collaborations with nearby companies.
  • Dolce & Gabbana joined with appliance maker Smeg for a Made-in-Italy project under the Sicily is my Love umbrella. The two high-end Italian companies initially created a line of 100 hand-painted Smeg refrigerators featuring all-over Dolce & Gabbana prints inspired by Sicilian folklore. That was followed by another, broader collection of small appliances including toasters, juicers, coffee machines, kettles, blenders, and mixers.
  • Vivienne Westwood and Burberry, two well-known British fashion labels, collaborated on a limited edition of pieces inspired by British heritage, such as kilt skirts, double-breasted jackets, and lace-up platforms. The collection combined Westwood’s punk style with Burberry’s plaid, and featured a logo combining both brand names.
  • Beer brand Dos Equis collaborated with streetwear and lifestyle label Mexico is the S—t (MITS) for a jacket that plays on the two companies’ Mexican heritage. Promotion surrounding the launch included pop-up shops and live events featuring emerging musicians, visual artists, and streetwear designers, all from Mexico.
  • Chaud Devant, a Dutch specialist in footwear and apparel for chefs, created a Michelin-branded line of shoes that had soles of non-slip Michelin rubber. The line was in collaboration with chef Claude Bosi of the restaurant Claude Bosi at Bibendum. The restaurant is Michelin Guide-starred, is located in Michelin House, the tire company’s art deco U.K. headquarters building in South Kensington, London, and takes its design cues from Bibendum (the official name of the Michelin Tire Man).
  • General Mills partnered with Fulton Beer for a HefeWheaties craft brew in a collaboration that hinged not only on the two companies’ Minneapolis origins, but also on their common use of wheat in their products and the fact that the wheat-milling industry was integral to their shared home’s early development.

Sometimes the driving force for a pairing is opposite-but-complementary rather than shared history or geography. Such was the case when summery California label Tommy Bahama and chilly Pacific Northwest brand Pendleton collaborated on a collection of menswear, womenswear, accessories, and home goods. All of the pieces offered the comfortable construction for which both brands are known.

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