3 x High x Low Partnerships

We, as an industry, talk a lot about the ‘experience generation’: the dramatic mind-set shift from ‘I have’ to ‘I experience’. However, there is in fact an in between, where consumers want to experience having something they thought they couldn’t. We see this perfectly in the growing trend of high x low brand partnerships.

From fine art and Pokemon to high fashion and skate-culture, we look at three high x low partnerships we’re loving this month.

1. Selfridges x Iceland

Luxury department store Selfridges is ripping up the rule book with a rock and roll themed ‘Selfridges Rock Christmas’. And they’re not stopping at the decorations – the rulebook is nowhere to be seen when it comes to their festive fayre, selling boxes of £1.89 mince pies from the low-price retailer, Iceland.

Photo Credit: Iceland
Photo Credit: Iceland

The Iceland mince pies have made a low-key debut in Selfridges’ food halls, sharing the aisles with £1,450 tins of beluga caviar and £5,000 Christmas hampers. The unusual collaboration between the upmarket department store and the frozen food specialist is on sustainability grounds, as both retailers seek to boost their environmental credentials by committing to removing palm oil from their own-brand ranges.

In the race for palm-oil free food, Iceland got there first. Selfridges praised its competitor’s products “We’re committed to becoming completely palm-oil free by Christmas 2019, so these delicious palm-oil free mince pies by Iceland offer a little taste of what’s to come. For us, there’s no point palming off the inevitable – together we must end deforestation.”

2. Ralph Lauren x Palace

The fashion world has been leveraging high x low collaborations for years – Vetements x DHL, Alexander Wang x Uniqlo, Louis Vuitton x Supreme, to name just a few. Not to mention, Moschino is next in line for H&M’s iconic annual high x low collaboration, launching this month.

Now it seems American fashion house Ralph Lauren and London-based skate label, Palace, are the latest brands to join forces and blur the lines between streetwear and high fashion.

Image Credit: PALACE
Image Credit: PALACE

Palace dropped some pretty BIG HINTS last week, via three navy blue billboards in Tokyo’s Shibuya district, shortly followed by fly posters in key cities around the world.

The joint collection is set to drop imminently, and is inspired by the Polo garments that Palace’s co-founders Lev Tanju and Gareth Skewis have worn through the years. “It’s the only brand that you can wear to a board meeting, a funeral and go to the football in – all in the same day,” Tanju told the Business of Fashion.

While Palace has previously partnered with Reebok, adidas and Umbro (among others), Ralph Lauren, now in its 50th year, has been looking to tap into millennial’s love for streetwear for a while now, relaunching its 1992 Stadium line last year to celebrate 25 years since its first release.

The collection, which will feature both brand’s logos, will have Palace’s price points as opposed to Ralph Lauren’s – an approach adopted by most high x low collaborations, helping to open both brands up to new markets and throw the language of luxury wide open.

3. The Met x Pokémon

Our final high x low example comes from the worlds of fine art and pop-culture.

Image Credit: The Pokemon Company
Image Credit: The Pokemon Company

A line of Pokémon trading cards will soon be available at the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, each one featuring a Pokémon mimicking the classic pose from Edvard Munch’s iconic painting ‘The Scream’.

Image Source: The Value
Image Source: The Value

This comes as the museum launches a retrospective on Edvard Munch’s career, marking the first time that The Scream and several other works will be exhibited in Japan. The collaboration marks a celebration of art - shared with fans of fine art and Japanese pop-culture alike - whilst blurring the definition of ‘collector’s item’.

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 - kattowers@lovecreative.com