Fashion Labels Go Fishing

Fishing and fashion may seem to be an odd-couple pairing, but collaborations involving streetwear or other apparel labels and functional fishing gear come up more than you might think, including at least two examples this season. All involve companies that are rooted in Japan, where fishing is a popular pastime, or that have strong ties to Japanese culture. The collaborative products are often available globally.

Some examples from the past two years:

  • Streetwear and collectibles retailer BAIT, which is based in California and known for its frequent co-branded collections with Japanese brands and characters, paired with Columbia Sportswear for a collection of performance fishing gear under the latter’s PFG brand, in a deal announced last month. The fashion-forward line, sold on BAIT’s e-commerce site, includes sneakers with features such as a neoprene interior sock and a design reminiscent of fish scales; a fishing vest; pants that transition to shorts; a bag; a tackle box; two t-shirts; and hats and bandanas. The color palette includes pastels not normally seen in fishing gear.
  • In March of this year, Japan-headquartered outdoor lifestyle brand Snow Peak and Japanese fishing label Toned Trout worked together to create another drop in their ongoing collaboration. This collection takes its inspiration from mountain stream fishing. Products include a rain jacket designed to minimize damage from fish hooks, a vest that adjusts to different body and pocket sizes, t-shirts, socks, rain hats and sun-guard caps, cargo shorts, and a mug. Products are available through Snow Peak’s e-commerce shop.
  • In April of 2021, streetwear brand Supreme partnered with South2 West8, a functional but fashionable outdoorwear brand that is part of the Japanese-rooted streetwear company Nepenthes. South2 West8’s designs are inspired by tenkara, a Japanese fly-fishing technique. The collection, which was available on Supreme’s website, included a trek jacket, multiple SKUs of pants, several styles of hat, a parka, vests, and more, as well as game bags and a tenkara fishing rod.
  • In May 2020, streetwear brand Chaos Fishing Club teamed with Depp Tokyo, a fishing lure and bait brand, for a limited edition of two t-shirts and a “Chaos White” lure. The collection was sold through the retail channels of the two brands, both of which were founded in Japan.

Pairings between fishing and fashion go back further than these recent ventures. In 2010, for example, streetwear label A Bathing Ape paired with fishing gear maker Daiwa—as in many of the other examples, both partners are based in Japan—for a collection consisting of several styles of fishing jackets and pants, parkas, sunglasses, life preservers, fishing rods and reels, and colorful camo lures, all with a trademark A Bathing Ape spin.

A reminder that Raugust Communications’ monthly e-newsletter comes out tomorrow, Tuesday, July 19, 2022. The Licensing Topic of the Month takes a look at best practices in location-based entertainment, and the Datapoint research spotlight examines the busy world of candy brand licensing. If you do not yet receive this free publication, please subscribe here.

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