Updated: Jan 20, 2020
By Dami David
2019 has been a big year for some Blacked-owned brands, with some dynamic collaborations with some well-known established brands, which I’m sure you didn’t miss but if you did, here are my most noteworthy ones.
Yezus is the one to follow.
These collaborations follow the success of Kanye West and Adidas on the Yeezy range of sneakers. Projected to yield $1.5 billion in sales in just 2019, it has been deemed as ‘the most influential sneaker brand in the world’, certainly a convincing case that collaboration is a blueprint for success for upcoming designers.
The Divine exchange
So, what does a collaboration mean for an upcoming brand? Clout? Interestingly, from my initial analysis, I felt that collaborations with more established brands are deemed as being of higher significance for the upcoming brand, as the more established brand co-signs the newer brand’s existence or creativity. Access to resources? For an upcoming brand it is also an amazing opportunity to utilise the production and infrastructure of the bigger brand which enables the designer to unlock their creativity at a higher level. For the more established brand, the relationship may give them a new audience and/or renewed appeal. I guess both get to leverage on each brands identity, as the collaborations allow for a diffusion of culture, style that may even transcend each individual brand’s norm. What I believe to be most important about some of the collaborations we’ve seen this year is the showcasing and support of fresh talent scene irrespective what they design. Proving that talent is talent; period.
1. Ahluwalia X Adidas (shoes)
Following Yeezy way, is another collaboration with Adidas Originals with Luxury Sportswear designer Ahluwalia Studios. Priya Ahluwalia a designer famous for her use of waste materials and Indian and Nigerian influences in her designs. She designed pair of SC, Supercourt trainers at the Makers Lab - a her take on the classic tennis whites. Ahluwalia was showcased this collaboration with Adidas Originals at Paris Fashion Week runway show in January.
2. Mowalola x Christian Louboutin
Mowalola Ogunlesi, the Central Saint Martin Graduate and Designer collaborated with shoes designer the famous Christian Louboutin this year and maybe the most coveted on my list. She credits Nollywood as big influence and explores pleasure and provocation. I’m not sure if she was influenced by 90s Jean Paul Gaultier but her designs a reminiscent his designs including her printed bodies on leather jackets and sheer mesh vests. This collaboration is a marriage made in heaven. Her collection featured a whole lot of leather, from mini-skirts, to cropped jackets and cut out body suits which were paired in the perfect way custom Christian Louboutin knee-high boots in yellow, plum and blue. She showcased her collection including the piece from the collaboration with Christian Louboutin at Arise Fashion Week in Lagos (hosted by Naomi Campbell) in April this year along with London fashion Week in September.
3. Vivendii X Bjorn (Underwear)
The perfect fit
The London based Nigerian street wear designers Vivendii, famous for their “These are my church clothes” slogans branded across T-shirts collaborated earlier this year with German brand Bjorn Borg on some boxers for a collection titled “Praying”. In their Hypebeast interview the designers’ explained the deeper meaning behind the splashes of bleach on the boxer shorts in which they explained came from their desire to explore youth culture and skin bleaching growing problem in Nigeria.