Mortar & More

Power Partnerships - Brand Collaboration in Retail



Brand collaborations within retail are increasing in popularity. Why is this? It is a way for brands to generate new ideas, create fresh spins to existing collections and build on their brand community. 

Collaboration creates room for cool exploration and experimentation that breaks down certain boundaries and limitations in fashion or in any creative industry. Some exciting collaborations come from the most seemingly unlikely partnership. It’s a creative way for brands and artists to engage new or existing customers.

A successful collab that we love is Gentle Monster x Maison Margiela. Gentle Monster, known for its statement sunglasses but more synonymous with its futuristic retail installations, has collaborated with Maison Margiela, a Parisian Haute Couture House. The crossover between two avant-garde brands has brought us noteworthy sunglasses, pop-up stores, and concessions that are indeed a spectacle and brilliant representation of both brands.

Maison Margiela’s signature whitewashed space and cryptic logo blend seamlessly with Gentle Monster’s gusto for technological theatrics. 

Brands such as Gucci and Adidas have recognisable styles. Gucci prides itself on maximalism, while Adidas draws on its heritage. What happens when these fashion trailblazers partner up? The result is a jolly concoction of motifs, colours, sleek apparel, and shop interiors. Gucci and Adidas’s emblems have been masterfully merged to create a kaleidoscopic aesthetic throughout the stores.

Such exciting collaboration brings exciting events.

For example, to bring the retro sports club style to a wider audience outside the store, Gucci and Adidas set up a glass cube table tennis platform fully decked out in Gucci x Adidas motif with bespoke table tennis equipment, creating a highly-Instagrammable experience. The glass cube also served as a temporary venue for media and influencer launch events, allowing the structure to engage passersby continuously after dark.

There are no limitations to how many brands can collaborate. Coach x Keith Harring x Disney joined forces to create magical experiences that appealed to various audiences – fashionistas, art collectors and ‘Disney Adults’. This collaboration was a powerhouse of creativity and a catalyst for change when they decided to digitalise their pop-ups and create an immersive AR world. Physical pop-up shops were completely plastered in Keith Harring’s doodles and became the backdrop to display Coach’s products. Giant Mickey Mouse sculptures covered with Harring’s signature motif were also dotted in the space. The same details were brought into the AR world. Customers could discover and shop for the products in the comfort of their own homes. Also, as a bonus, customers were transported into an immersive subway station inspired by New York City, where they could channel their inner Keith Harring to customise and graffiti the space. This cultural clash was a one-of-a-kind experience.

These collaborations were well received by existing fans and welcomed by new. Epic takeovers of spaces like these break the high-street monotony, drive footfall and create a marketing buzz for brands and their surroundings.