There is also an issue of same artists collaborating with both high-end and low-end brands such as Jeff Koons who collaborated with both Louis Vuitton and H&M, and Brooklyn illustrator Hugo Guinness collaborated with Coach and J.Crew (Fashionista, 2014). This creates a question in the minds of luxury consumers who prefer something unique, rare, and unreachable. Star brands make it easy for lower luxury brands and masstige brands to emulate their technique. For instance, Louis Vuitton’s masters’ collection using old masters’ pieces on bags is pushing mass brands like Uniqlo to print old master’s collection on t-shirts, and when star brands use existing artist’s well-known work as a plain print, it will be emulatable by masstige brands like junk food clothing.
(Fashionista, 2014). Currently, millennials have a different relationship with luxury, where they prefer uniqueness and quality over the brand name. Hence, more than before brands have to strive to keep up with the demand and provide unique products and experiences to gain a cult following from the largest demographic segment.
Last but not least, failure collaborations profoundly impact a brands equity and density. Therefore, right collaboration is required to ensure a brand’s image lives on forever. To ensure that a proper collaboration materializes brands require an effective/fail proof model to follow, and to date, there is no right or wrong model for luxury brand and artistic collaboration that brands could use. (When Luxury Meets Art, Olga Louisa Kastner). Thus, a model will provide luxury brands a clear understanding of aspects that have to be taken into consideration at different stages of a collaborations and ensure the collaboration doesn’t fail, reduce the equity of the brand or artist, or easily emulated by masstige brands.
This model is termed ‘fail-proof model’ as it will empower luxury brands to create a collaboration that doesn’t negatively affect (bring negative publicity) the brand if not bring it a success. Moreover, it will explain why and how rather than only what to do in during a collaboration. These ingredients might seem “known” but often are overlooked even by powerful brands like Louis Vuitton (Jeff Koons’ old masters’ collection) and Hermès (scarves with Daniel Buren, and Hiroshi Sugimoto), that have suffered either or both financial and equity loss through their collaborations. Equity loss (Louis Vuitton’s) is seen through customers’ comments, likes, and reactions to the end products of the collaboration on social media (WeChat, Instagram, Facebook). Bloggers, Vloggers, and top artists also acted as an agent to bring awareness about the negatives and positives of the collections which created much buzz in the negative side too. (VIVA, 2017, Jian Daily, 2017). The financial aspect (Hermès) is estimated as pieces from these limited collaborations (from 10 years ago) are still sold on the brand’s e-commerce site.
The model was created through 4 stages of research and analysis.
There are two types of primary research in this project. The first is expert interviews conducted with four artists who have worked with luxury brands recently. These interviews were used in generating the model. The second primary is performed using an image sorting method and would be shown at the end of the project. This was a pre-testing method that analyzed the final collaboration and how consumers would perceive it.
Purpose: To learn about their experience and what they personally and commercially gained through the collaboration. To understand the aim behind the collaboration and how the two components, the artist and the brand, fit in the piece. To learn whether they search for commercial success or to create a niche market to keep themselves rare and attainable to only a few.
How it was used: The key points were taken into consideration while creating the model. The data gathered through primary research supported the data collected through secondary research, hence, reinforcing the importance of each key ingredient.
About: Orgh is an Italian graffiti artist born in 1983 and currently resides in Rome. He graduated from the Institute of Art in Rome. In 1996 He began to approach writing with the tags and flops in his neighborhood. In 1999, he embraced 3D graffiti, and along with his crew, he began to give a new impetus to the graffiti scene in Rome by organizing entire themed walls with strong impact for the users. Since then he has done various collective exhibitions, and in 2015, he did his first solo show in Rome called “Animal Letters.” He has also returned to 2D graffiti, and he combines warm colors with cold and his style is “Semiwild.” He has done collaborations with great artists such as Thoms, Etnik, Dater, Wany, and Keen Rock.
Recent collaboration – along with his co-artist and life partner Nina he collaborated with Fendi to do a street art performance in Fendi’s headquarters Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana. It was for F is for Fendi campaign that focuses on millennials.
Summary: He is more interested in working with chosen clients who match his values, allow him to inspire others, and let him grow as an artist. He has worked with museums and other artists and experimented with mediums like clothes, shoes, objects and other things. He aims to be able to paint on cruises and planes that will travel the world and leave a mark on many people. His take on collaborating with luxury brands is that it sets the bar high on the rest of the projects for himself and others who work with him. He also says though big-brands give a topic to work on, they give him free rein and there are other advantages like being able to do something big, extravagant, and reaching more people. He does not need commercial success as long as he can do what he loves doing. As an artist, he believes both brand and artist have to believe in the same thing to be able to work together. When the goals are different, it forms friction, and when artists don’t get free rein, it becomes difficult to collaborate.
About: Amber Vittoria is an illustrator living and working in New York City. Her work focuses on the accurate portrayal of women within an art. Her pieces focus on femininity and the female form, leveraging physical traits such as body hair, overtly extended limbs, and rounded features. She has collaborated with like-minded brands, such as Gucci, The New York Times, and Instagram. Amber is a One Club Young Gun, Society of Illustrators Gold Medalist, American Illustration Chosen Winner, and ADC Annual Award Winner. Her work has been recognized by Print Magazine‘s 2017 New Visual Artists – 15 Under 30, Computer Arts, HuffPost, Teen Vogue, and Man Repeller.