CollaBrands: The New High-Performance Active Lifestyle Collabs 

Peloton’s collaboration with Adidas was designed with input from celebrity fitness instructors. Photo: Courtesy of brands

Adidas x Peloton

Peloton is a direct-to-consumer (DTC) sports brand that has injected new life into the experience of cycling for exercise. In addition to their immensely popular Peloton stationary bikes, the brand offers a treadmill and a digital studio with more than 10,000 boutique fitness classes. Founded in 2013, Peloton is not simply an exercise brand, but a true early adopter of content and commerce, having integrated the concept of subscription-based video into its product to take monotony out of working out at home, making it fun and interactive.  For Peloton, the ability to create a continual revenue stream of dedicated customer-fans through monthly subscriptions has been a game changer, with two tiers of membership: All-Access, for owners of Peloton bikes and treads, at $39 a month, and the Peloton App, which hosts an extensive library of content with no equipment required, at $12.99. 

Starting from the original stationary bike in 2013, the company added a $4,000 treadmill in 2018 and rolled out two new models this year with a broader range of price points (currently between $1,895 and $4,295). Peloton equipment features large screens to encourage user interaction with instructors, many of whom have become celebrities with large fan followings. Combining exercise classes with a fun social media-style element has enabled the brand to grow exponentially, especially once the coronavirus pandemic shut down gyms around the world. Peloton’s stock has nearly quadrupled over the past year as consumers lined up to invest in its at-home workout equipment and sense of community fostered by its digital experience.

Stationary bikes were first step to Peloton becoming a content-commerce powerhouse. Photo: Courtesy of brands

In the latest boost to the Peloton brand, the company announced an international partnership with Adidas on a line of performance and lifestyle apparel. The collaboration will be launched with the Adidas x Peloton Spring/Summer 2021 collection, developed with popular instructors Ally Love, Robin Arzón and Cody Rigsby. The trainers were involved in the design process to help establish a co-creation model for the future, as this marks Peloton’s first-ever instructor-designed global-level collaboration.

New Balance x Stone Island

Stone Island opted for a footwear partnership with a well-established brand rather than licensing its name. Photo: Courtesy of Stone Island

Known for its consistently strong brand collaborations, New England-based New Balance announced last week a multi-year partnership with Italian men’s luxury label Stone Island, following up on a one-off 2013 sneaker collab.

In an Instagram post announcing the partnership, Stone Island wrote: 

Known as cultural drivers, both brands share similar values of research and functionality in their respective areas of expertise and take an analytical approach to innovative data-driven design. Initial talks were based on the common vision of developing a footwear partnership that will roll out in several different waves over the next few years. By transcending current trends, New Balance and Stone Island will together bring their shared values to life in a new and creative way.

According to New Balance senior collaborations manager Joe Grondin, the company places an emphasis on “aligning with brands that are authentic in their space and have substance behind their message.” New Balance’s roster of collaborators represents a wide range of aesthetics, communities and subcultures, which means that the brand can speak to a variety of consumers based on how it matches products and collaborators. Other successful co-branded projects from New Balance have included WTAPS, Joe Freshgoods, Stray Rats, Aimé Leon Dore, NBA star Kawhi Leonard, and British fashion designer Paul Smith

Why Collaborate?

A major question for successful brands is why they should collaborate with another brand at all when they might feel they are doing well enough with their core products. The answer is that collaborations delight consumers through their novelty and provide opportunities for expansion into new categories with top-tier partners. Stone Island could have easily licensed its name to a shoe company to produce Stone Island branded shoes, but the collaboration with New Balance gives the consumer the best of both worlds. Both labels have their fans, and by joining forces they can satisfy their avid consumers while drawing new ones.  The same reasoning lies behind Peloton’s partnership with Adidas. Working with best-in-class companies only enhances the fruits of the collaboration and creates greater value all around.

Steven Ekstract is Managing Director of Global Licensing Advisors, a consultancy that provides companies with insight and strategic direction to succeed in the $300 billion a year licensing business. Ekstract is the founder and former Publisher of License Global magazine, the leading information source for the consumer licensing business. He can be reached at


Content Commerce, Market Analysis