Why Fashion Brands Are Collaborating With Anime

Streetwear brands have typically been involved in anime collaborations, such as Diadora with “Astroboy” and Bape x “Pokemon.” Today, the fashion industry at large exploits the niche market.

The latest fashion anime collaboration comes from the Jordan brand, which has partnered with New Orleans Pelicans supply forward Zion Williamson and Williamson’s self-declared favorite anime show, “Naruto”. The collection, which launched on May 18, includes character-inspired sneakers and t-shirts. Prices range from $35 to $130 on the Nike website and various sports retail stores. Previously, on April 26, French fashion brand Maje released a limited edition collection with the classic anime character Sailor Moon. And on April 15, Dolce & Gabbana announced their new collaboration with “Jujutsu Kaisen.”

The desire to stay relevant among young consumers may be the main driver of these collaborations. In early 2020, an American investigation reported that 27% of American adults between the ages of 18 and 29 have a favorable opinion of anime. The average anime fan is 24.4 year. While the anime genre has different content that appeals to different demographics, the majority of people watching are Gen Zers. According Grandview Research, From 2021 to 2028, the global anime market will grow by 9.7%. In the United States, this increase is more significant at 15.5%.

For its part, Dolce & Gabbana, collaborated with “Jujutsu Kaisen” after the first film of the show, dubbed “Jujutsu Kaisen 0”. The film has accumulated $31.4 million at the US box office. D&G’s “Jujutsu Kaisen” collection consists of 30 styles ranging from earrings and handkerchiefs to blazers and bags, with prices ranging from $300 to $4,000. Market the collection, “Jujutsu Kaisen” director Sunghoo Park illustrated the anime’s eight main characters in their respective Dolce & Gabbana outfits. Additionally, Dolce & Gabbana opened Three pop-up shops in Shibuya, Japan from April 27 to May 3 to offer an immersive experience alongside the products.

Although Dolce & Gabbana’s custom looks for “Jujutsu Kaisen” weren’t available for purchase online, the collection quickly garnered fan attention and praise on ICT Tac and Twitter. Dolce & Gabbana itself only posted six promotional posts for the collaboration on Twitter and Instagram, but fan-made TikToks have had nearly 2.5 million views, 650,000 likes, 23,000 shares and 7,000 comments.

“Trends come from communities, and [Dolce & Gabbana] impacted the community well. That’s why they get a good response [on social media]said Ashley Paintsil, a fashion and media researcher in the University of Delaware’s Department of Communications.

Other luxury brands exploit popular anime characters. Studio Ghibli, the animation studio that created the Oscar-winning film in 2003”Taken away as if by magic”, collaborated with Loewe in January 2022. The line consisted of 54 embroidered and intarsia-knit shirts, sweaters, and jackets; prices ranged from $450 to $6,400.

For many Millennials and Gen Zers, these collections are tied to the greater nostalgia trend seen in fashion and culture.

“Coming out of a pandemic, people want things that are fun or that remind them of themselves. It’s definitely a way of trying to reach Gen Z and reach their interests,” Paintsil said. “[Luxury brands] likely only reach a subset of Gen Z consumers who can afford [luxury collections]…but it’s still a good point of contact, to get something small from them.

Caleb Arbaugh, a social media commentator who specializes in spirited collaborations with brands like Samsung and Bape, pointed out that, in the past, luxury brands like Louis Vuitton and Harrods collaborated with skateboard brands. Previously, people saw luxury and skateboards as an unconventional pair, and the same goes for luxury brands’ collaborations with anime, he said.

“Luxury brands [are] adapting to a changing culture and anime becoming hugely popular,” he said. “Brands that don’t collaborate with anime or skateboard brands, or just artists in general, are [not doing it] to their own death. »

Yet clothes aren’t the only way these collaborations can come to life. For example, Gucci collaborated with anime show “One Piece” in September 2020 for an official look book, where anime creator Eiichiro Oda drew characters for Gucci’s “Fake/Not” collection. In October 2018, Balenciaga collaborated with the animated show “Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure”, in which the main character Bruno Bucciarati was illustrated in a look from Balenciaga’s Fall 2018 collection for a magazine cover.

“It’s valuable that brands can combine new manga [comic] with characters dressed in the latest luxury fashions, but [collaborations] don’t always have to be commodities,” Arbaugh said.