At first, fans were underwhelmed by the collaboration, but it was a legendary pair for collectors and enthusiasts. The latest co-branded shoe release, the Nike Air Force 1 x Tiffany & Co. trainers, sold out almost instantly. But who are the consumers behind this buying frenzy? Resellers, who beat sneakerheads to the punch and now ask them to pay three times the $400 retail price. So, you may wonder, are sneaker collaborations still worth the hype? To find an answer, let’s take a look at what has happened in the market over the last few years, from the benefits of these strategic partnerships for brands to the buzz they generate in the industry and among young people.
The Nike/Tiffany Air Force 1 1837 is crafted in black suede with a Tiffany blue Swoosh and archival Tiffany logo on the tongue
The streetwear market, like the high fashion one, could not help but encourage purchases through super exclusive collaborations and limited edition launches.
Last year’s top sneakers come from all over the stylistic continuum, from mass-produced general releases to ultra-exclusive releases that leave a few pairs up for grabs. There are design models and designers, with the collaboration between Reebok and Eames Office, but also old styles in new partnerships, such as the iconic Prada America's Cup sneakers redesigned by Damien Hirst's son Cassius, a Gen-Z artist.
Prada collaborated with artist Cassius Hirst to reimagine the Prada America's Cup sneaker through a customised capsule collection
When it comes to sneakers, Nike beats Adidas in controlling a large share of the brand collaboration market
The Nike symbol, the Swoosh, covers all nuances of the equation, from performance footwear to collaborations generating massive hype. Nike has introduced many unique sneaker collaborations over time, from high fashion to ice cream brands, movies and cartoons.
Made in collaboration with Ben & Jerry's, the Nike Dunk Low SB Chunky Dunky replicates the packaging used for the ice cream brand's Chunky Monkey flavor
Unsurprisingly, Nike’s collabs are among the most popular, launching shoes every season that become sold out in seconds. The footwear presented in the Spring-Summer 2022 menswear show as a collaboration with Louis Vuitton has garnered acclaim from all insiders and the press.
Presenting his spring-summer 2022 collection for Louis Vuitton, the late menswear creative director Virgil Abloh unveiled the first ever Louis Vuitton Nike Air Force 1
The collaboration between brands for sneakers brings together ideas that mingle and affect their DNA, giving life to innovative, fashion-forward products. In recent years the concept of “collaboration” has become an essential element of many industries and fashion in particular: quite every fashion brand, especially in the luxury segment, has offered at least one project or product created with another brand. These opportunities have led to new and exciting visions while arousing public interest. If partnerships with individual creatives have always been part of the fashion world, those bringing together two big brand names were definitely rare in the past.
A never-ending battle between Adidas and Nike: Who’s on the winning side of history?
The latest key event in the history of contemporary fashion, if we consider the interest aroused, was when Nike and Tiffany & Co recently confirmed their partnership. The jewellery and sneakers combo was incredibly unexpected, as much as desired by fans of these two giants. The first press release announcing the collaboration catalysed industry attention, both at the highest end of the market and in the streetwear sector, coming forward as an example of knowing how to give life to new icons.
Called "A Legendary Pair", this collaboration between Tiffany & Co. and Nike marks "two iconic American brands coming together in a display of heritage and craftsmanship", reports Tiffany's website
Furthermore, the collab was both a marketing success and a shock capable of rekindling the confrontation between Nike and Adidas, the Ettore and Achilles of footwear fashion, changing the scenario: from the street to the big fashion houses.
Both brands have built unique identities and market positioning, but the comparison remains inevitable. The Swoosh and the 3 Stripes are locked in a tight battle in the fashion arena, and we can now understand that they have chosen a new field to compete in. While the only goal had always been to launch new, attention-grabbing footwear that would instantly become the coolest, today, they have focused on old styles to strengthen their iconic status further. A transhumance of silhouettes fixed in the collective imagination in new contexts with next-gen consumers.
The most popular fashion giants had never dared to approach footwear collaborations until a few years ago. Although they have always offered sneakers, the idea of teaming up with sports brands – like Nike and Adidas – had never crossed their minds. You could call this a strategy recognising how catwalks and streets are not so far apart, and the distance between street style and luxury lifestyle is very short indeed. Partnerships with fashion houses ended up at the centre of attention in a world historically distant from sneakers. They reached unexpected levels of interest, creating real competition between those who get big fashion labels to re-release iconic styles of the past in new and exclusive editions.
All you need to know about Prada for Adidas partnership
Almost three years ago, Prada and Adidas officially unveiled their first collaborative Superstar sneaker
One of the first to lead the way in this marketing move was undoubtedly the collaboration between Adidas and Prada. The sportswear brand had ventured into the high-fashion territory by announcing the release of a total white Superstar shoe, marking the beginning of a long-lasting collaboration with Prada. Within a short time, the market also saw a new take on Luna Rossa 21 and a restyled Forum Low. Although it was a new thing, the press release from the Italian brand underlined that an iconic shoe did not need to be redesigned but had to be left in its purest and most original form. The Prada for Adidas project earned Adidas’ most prominent shoe a new look, increasing sales and hype.
Could Nike have missed a countermove?
Of course, they haven’t. The made-in-USA brand continued its “fashion colonisation” process by choosing another heavyweight, Tiffany & Co., for an exquisite line of accessories while giving life to a new chapter in the co-branding history.
"Another iconic Tiffany blue box," says the American luxury jewellery house
The official announcement was made on both brands’ social channels with the line: “A legendary pair.” Never could a title have been more appropriate.
Do collab trainers still shine like a bright diamond? Tiffany says yes
Nike’s Instagram account reached over 1.4 million likes and more than 14,000 comments, with this post also shared on Tiffany & Co.’s page: a significant engagement that proves how the power of these two famous brands is strengthened when they are together.
A unique product whose promotion continued with a reel by Tiffany & Co. showing the new sneaker: Nike Air Force 1 Low, celebrating the silhouette’s 40th anniversary.
The Nike/Tiffany Air Force 1 1837 features co-branded, laser-etched silver plates above each heel
The collaboration includes a pair of Air Force 1, with a legendary total black design called “1837”, and silver accessories to turn heads, including a shoe brush featured in a post on the Tiffany & Co. Instagram profile and accompanied by the wording: “Don’t forget the Tongue.”
The Nike/Tiffany shoe brush was presented in a post on the Tiffany & Co. Instagram profile and accompanied by the wording: “Don’t forget the Tongue”
The silhouette of the iconic sneaker, one of the best-selling in the world, comes with a black suede body, the Nike Swoosh in the Tiffany shade and laces that immediately make one think of the handles of a jewellery bag. The Tiffany logo on the tongue raises the level of style, and a silver cliché on the back makes them incredibly chic.
As new as this may seem, if we go back to 2014, fashion experts and fashionistas will remember a Nike SB Dunk Low Pro Diamond Supply Co. in a Tiffany-like aqua blue colour. Checking StockX, they closed the last sale of this unique design for €2,558.00. Sneaker collaborations may no longer be a big thing for everyone, but they are still big players in the reselling game.