From skate wear crashing Wimbledon’s Centre Court to cosmetics sponsoring e-sports, we look at three cultural collaborations we’re loving this month.
1. Palace x Wimbledon
Formed in 1877, Wimbledon is the oldest tournament in tennis, and undoubtedly the most prestigious. When you think of Wimbledon you probably think of strawberries and cream, a cold Pimm’s Royale, maybe even Cliff Richard in a summer suit. But very few would ever think ‘cool skate collaboration’.
When skating upstart Palace crashed Centre Court in collaboration with adidas, it couldn’t get much further away from traditional Wimbledon culture. But that’s what also makes it one of the most intriguing collaborations of the year so far.
The London connection between Wimbledon and Palace will have played a part in the collaboration coming together, but the fact adidas had enough faith in the label to place it at the forefront of its tennis operation feels like a new and confident direction for sports uniforms.
The capsule collection features a whole gamut of tennis product, from headbands and umbrellas to court-ready polos and bucket caps, all paying tribute to the revered tournament.
It seems the stadium and the street are aligning like never before. If a brand like Palace can be exhibited proudly at arguably the most sacred sports tournament of all, where can streetwear go next?
2. Sephora x GirlGamer
Cosmetics retailer Sephora may not seem like a natural sponsor for e-sports at first glance. Typically, the gaming industry has been an attractive avenue for marketers to reach young men, not Sephora’s consumer demographic of young women.
However, the global gaming industry has been developing rapidly in recent years and its perception as a male-dominated territory is changing. In 2018, it was calculated that women accounted for nearly 45% of all gamers in the US according to the Entertainment Software Association.
Now in its second year, the GIRLGAMER e-sports festival celebrates and promotes women in the competitive gaming industry. In a press release, Sephora’s Marketing Director Paula Rocha explained their move into e-sports “We believe that, just as in the beauty market, gaming is no longer represented nor limited by genders. As a trendsetter brand and promoter of differentiating experiences, we are pleased to partner up with GIRLGAMER.”
Beauty is a cultural force – it is increasingly intersecting with other subcultures and communities, creating new opportunities for partnerships and ways to engage and interact with a brand more intensely. A recent report by Piper Jaffray found that food, streetwear, beauty and video games are among the top categories on Generation Z’s priority list; highlighting an opportunity to connect these sectors together.
In recent years, several beauty brands have looked to gaming and pop culture more broadly for inspiration. For example, luxury beauty brand Shu Uemura partnered with Nintendo for a line of Super Mario Bros. inspired products in 2017.
Perhaps more significantly, the partnership between Sephora and GIRLGAMER marks at least the second entry into e-sports for Sephora’s parent company, French luxury brand conglomerate, LVMH. The company owns several of the world’s most recognisable luxury brands, including Dior, Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs, Fendi, and more. LVMH first entered e-sports via the TAG Heuer Virtual Bundesliga back in January 2017.
3. Hennessy x Abbey Road
Hennessy has a very special relationship with music culture. Referenced in over 4,000 songs, it is the most name-checked spirit in the hip-hop world with Tupac, Biggie, Drake and countless others who mention the 250-year-old cognac in their lyrics.
This authenticity has led the brand to hold a position of trust and loyalty within the hearts of urban youth both in the UK and globally, for whom it has become a symbol of aspiration and achievement.
Today, Hennessy continues this affinity with art and music through annual limited-edition bottles and through campaigns like ‘Masters of Potential’, in collaboration with the legendary Abbey Road Studios.
The Masters of Potential partnership blends unexpected artists from different genres and backgrounds to create one-off mash-up musical moments which are captured live-to-vinyl.
Artists are selected by a panel of the music industry’s most respected insiders, including record executives, music industry journalists and world-class Abbey Road Studios engineers.
The first collaboration, captured earlier this month, comes in the form of South London grime act Krept & Konan with punk duo Slaves.
Hattie Collins, Masters of Potential panellist and author of This is Grime said: “For a long time, grime and rap weren’t allowed in institutions like The Barbican or The Southbank, so for Krept & Konan to be in Abbey Road Studios is another symbol of how far things have come.”
For the historic Abbey Road Studios, the partnership is a chance to stay connected, and central, to the beating heart of music culture, introducing the brand to a whole new audience of engaged and passionate music lovers, influencers and advocates.
SEEN is compiled by LOVE’s Head of Culture, Kat Towers. Want to say hello, ask questions or challenge her cultural knowledge? Get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org