From Palace x Gucci To Louis Vuitton x Nike, Here Are Our Global Collaboration Awards Of 2022

As the year ends on an influx of brand collaborations in time for the holiday season, the mood reflects the more-is-more tone of 2022. We’ve seen drops take place more frequently than ever before, with the likes of streetwear favorites such as Stüssy, Clot, Palace, Supreme, Nike, and Adidas all cranking out collab after collab.

Luxury houses have also proven that brand collaboration is an intrinsic part of grabbing the attention of Gen Z. Some took a nostalgic stance, like Balmain with Barbie and Pokémon, and Loewe with Spirited Away; meanwhile, others tapped streetwear leaders, such as Gucci joining Palace and Dickies, Dries Van Noten teaming up with Stüssy, and Dior working with ERL and Tremaine Emory’s emerging cult label Denim Tears. 

Reflecting on some of those stand-out launches that made our Jing Collabs & Drops newsletter each week, here are our global awards for the best brand collaborations of 2022.

1. MOST UNEXPECTED: BALMAIN X POKÉMON

balmain x pokemon

In his 10-plus years at the company, Balmain’s creative director Olivier Rousteing has never tapped into cartoon IPs as much as he has now. Photo: Balmain

DATE: September 1

WHY: Sporting garish color clashing and an extreme amount of yellow, the Balmain x Pokémon collection took consumers by surprise in September. Not only for the unusual design aesthetic, but also for the luxury house’s newly-formed, youth-facing identity of incorporating nostalgic IPs. It followed on from the Barbie drop in January, but many established labels have worked with Mattel Creations in the past, whereas Pokémon’s high fashion journey ultimately started with Balmain. Does it work? Well, the launch spurred 31,000 organic posts, with 21,000 people talking about it, and attained an estimated reach of 3 million. It shook the internet, bringing both Pokémon and Balmain to the top of feeds.

2. MOST VIRAL: PALACE X GUCCI 

palace x gucci

Palace and Gucci connected two very different consumer bases. Photo: Palace x Gucci

DATE: October 21

WHY: The fashion and skate scenes were rife with rumors of Palace x Gucci before it even dropped. Subsequently, the drop was leaked on social media. Once made official, the collaboration went viral, following in the footsteps of that iconic Louis Vuitton x Supreme capsule of 2017. At the peak of posts, there were over 20,000 in one day discussing this drop. As China accounts for 35 percent of Gucci’s annual sales revenue (according to Barclay’s 2022 estimates), it was a great move for the skate brand to connect to Chinese consumers. All in all, it managed to stand out and break through the noise of constant collaborations, from both Palace and Gucci.

Source: Digimind

3. BEST SNEAKER: LOUIS VUITTON X NIKE 

louis vuitton x nike

As the work of the late Virgil Abloh, the Louis Vuitton x Nike sneakers became profoundly meaningful. Photo: Louis Vuitton

DATE: July 19

WHY: Designed for Spring 2022, the 47 bespoke Virgil Abloh “Air Force 1” editions were instant collectors’ items. Beyond the actual sneakers being meticulously crafted, the New York City exhibition presenting them to the public made this collaboration even more unforgettable. In addition to that, February 2022 saw 200 of the pairs sold at auction, with proceeds donated to the Virgil Abloh™ “Post-Modern” Scholarship Fund. Nine out of all the editions were sold in-store at Nike, with the average sale price of the Louis Vuitton Monogram Brown Damier Azur, for instance, clocking in at around $42,600 (297,300 RMB) on StockX.

2022 COLLAB KING: GUCCI

gucci collabs

Reeling out an iconic roster of mainstream collaborations, Gucci wins at taking over our news feeds. Photo: Gucci

HIGHLIGHT COLLABS IN 2022: Adidas, The North Face, Palace, Harry Styles, Oura, Dickies, Major League Basketball, Gremlins, and SuperRare.

WHY: As creative director Alessandro Michele ends his seven year run at the Italian luxury house, he sure ended on a high note of a year in brand collaboration. The team at Gucci was busy in 2022, that’s for sure. With a strong focus on zeitgeisty names, the brand steered toward the streetwear space while staying firmly in its high-end playing field, in terms of pricing. Its collections with Dickies, The North Face, Adidas, and Harry Styles have all been received well for their mainstream significance, exciting the fan bases of each. 

Over the 12 months, the brand achieved 14 million mentions and a reach of 310 million, with mentions spiking whenever there was a collaboration announced or launched; the highest was the Adidas collection live from Milan Fashion Week in March.

It’s undeniable that Gucci’s collaborative approach emphasizes just how much marketing exposure can derive from cross-branded releases, and the ways in which they can tap new consumer bases. 

What’s next for 2023? Though it might be time to bid farewell to the overtly opulent glitz of Michele’s reign, we predict even more collaborations. Goodbye diamond-encrusted Dickies pants.

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Collabs and Drops, Fashion, Global, Market Analysis, Marketing