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The top five designer collaborations from 2016 so far

Collaboration projects are a great opportunity for creativity and experimentation within an established brand.

However, they can be far more than that, allowing fashion retailers to attract new target markets, as well drumming up large amounts of media interest for the parties involved. Drapers looks at the five of the best examples of fashion collaboration from 2016.

Uniqlo x Liberty


liberty london for uniqlo  008

liberty london for uniqlo 008


Bringing together British floral prints and modern daywear, Uniqlo x Liberty launched on March 18 and was met with a positive response from customers. Liberty managing director Ed Burstell described the collaboration as a great opportunity to promote brand awareness, pointing to Uniqlo’s 1,700 stores and strong presence in China. The launch coincided with the re-opening of the newly refurbished Uniqlo flagship on Oxford Street. 


Lou Dalton x River Island


lou d

Lou Dalton

Lou Dalton x River Island


British menswear designer Lou Dalton is the most recent of a long line of designers to create a capsule collection as part of River Island’s Design Forum. On designing the 13-piece collection of modern sportswear that launched for spring 16, Dalton said: “I’m a sucker for detail and finish, and it was incredibly important that we tried to capture that. Working with such a great company like River Island allowed us not to have to compromise.” Bringing young British designers to the forefront, the Design Forum allows its collaborators to make themselves accessible to a larger audience while promoting River Island’s reputation as a forward-thinking brand. 


LK Bennett x Bionda Castana

The first designer to team up with LK Bennett, luxury footwear brand Bionda Castana was given the opportunity to break into a wider, more accessible market when the collaboration was launched for spring 16 across LK Bennett’s European, US and Middle Eastern flagship stores, as well as online. Robert Bensoussan, LK Bennett’s CEO, said: “[Bionda Castana founders] Natalia and Jennifer have brought their own coveted aesthetic, and, together with our own in-house design team, created something unique for everyday luxury.”


Supreme x Stone Island

stone island

stone island

Launched in March, the third collaboration between skating brand Supreme and Stone Island – an outerwear brand that specialises in technical fabrics – was sold at selected flagship stores and online, helping each brand break into the other’s core market. Stone Island’s stores are largely in mainland Europe and the UK, while Supreme focuses on Japan and the US. The Stone Island collaboration also reinforces Supreme’s heritage of working with bold or influential designers, while upping its price point in comparison with the brand’s original designs. 


Rodarte designers Laura and Kate Mulleavy told lifestyle website Refinery 29 their collaboration with H&M’s sister brand, & Other Stories, was a meeting of minds when it launched in March. “& Other Stories tell stories, as do we. We are always looking for a narrative, whether it be simple and minimal or multi-faceted and layered,” the sisters said. By drip-feeding images on Instagram and using celebrity placement to highlight key items before the launch online and in selected stores, a huge buzz was created around the collaboration, which sold out within hours. 

Looking forward to autumn 16, there are further collaborations on the horizon: & Other Stories is to partner with eponymous New York leather goods brand Zana Bayne for its autumn collection, while on 3 November, H&M will unveil its much-anticipated pair-up with Paris-based brand Kenzo.

By Steph Dye


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