How Jimmy Choo Outshines Competition With ‘Chasing Stars’ Collaboration

Key Takeaways:

  • JIMMY CHOO / ERIC HAZE CURATED BY POGGY demonstrates how collaborations can fuse different cultures and creative disciplines while remaining true to the brand’s identity.

  • By launching pop-up stores across China, Jimmy Choo offers luxury shoppers personalized interactions and a sense of status.

  • Jimmy Choo’s NFT initiatives not only reinforce the capsule’s exclusiveness and collectability, but they also play into two key trends in China: the NFT boom and the blind box phenomenon.

Seeking standout products that express their individuality, young Chinese consumers have fueled a culture of collaborations. But as brands across all industries employ this tactic to generate buzz and widen their reach, relying on big names alone isn’t enough. Those that want to continue exciting consumers have had to take new approaches to this collaboration model — breaking creative boundaries and doing the unexpected.

One player that is not afraid of shaking things up is Jimmy Choo. On October 11, the Capri Holdings-owned luxury house released its ambitious “Chasing Stars” capsule collection, merging the unique styles of three global talents: New York-based artist and designer Eric Haze, Japanese fashion icon Poggy, and the brand’s London-based creative director Sandra Choi. A contemporary fusion of cultures and creative disciplines, Jimmy Choo delivers a considered collaboration that melds physical product with virtual.

The alliance was first sparked by a mutual love between Choi and Poggy for the 1980s era, specifically the underground music and art scenes that blossomed in downtown New York. With that inspiration, Haze naturally came to mind; it was during this period that the artist had rose to prominence with his bold, non-figurative designs, capturing the visceral energy of Manhattan.

Together, the trio produced a limited-edition collection of men’s, women’s, and unisex footwear styles that Choi calls “the epitome of craft, beauty, glamour, and art.” But how exactly did three disparate voices become one? Below, Jing Daily breaks down JIMMY CHOO / ERIC HAZE CURATED BY POGGY and what luxury collaborations need to stand out in China in 2021.

Creating authentic artist-brand crossovers

When it comes to design, it helped that both Jimmy Choo and Haze had one thing in common: their signature star motif. For the project, they reimagined this shared emblem — blowing it up, layering it, obscuring it — to create a vibrant print to decorate everything from stilettos and sneakers to bags. Besides putting a fresh spin on their graphics, Haze also added a gritty twist to Jimmy Choo’s elegant aesthetic, pulling off “the magic trick of being sophisticated on a luxury level while still being historically authentic on a street level,” he described.

For example, the unisex loafer covered in “broken” crystals has a mix of grit and glamour that is instantly recognizable as a Jimmy Choo signature. The mini tote bag, featuring Haze’s dynamic, urban scrawl, is a playful interpretation of a going out bag. And of course the sneakers, one of the standout pieces in the famed luxury fashion brand’s  lineup, has been called “​​an art piece — a high-quality masterpiece,” playing with unexpected juxtapositions and an oversized logo signature on the sole.

New York-based artist Eric Haze adds an urban, gritty twist to Jimmy Choo’s sophisticated aesthetic, fusing street art and luxury. Photo: Courtesy

According to Poggy, collaborations in today’s age are all about transparency. In other words, the end product should embody the different creative influences while remaining true to the brand’s identity. And here, each party managed to put their own stamp on the capsule, with Choi and Haze shaping it as designers and Poggy using her curatorial eye to interpret how their work can translate to Jimmy Choo.

“When you look at the results, you will see Poggy, you will see Sandra, you will see Eric,” Haze explained. “There’s no component or angle that you can look at this collection that doesn’t resonate as Jimmy Choo collection and also resonate as a true collaboration. That’s sort of our greatest success.”

Recommended ReadingFrom Street Art to Shoes: Eric Haze x Jimmy ChooBy Sadie Bargeron

Captivating young audiences with retail events

To bring these items to life, Jimmy Choo revamped designated boutiques and launched pop-up stores around the world, including at three luxury hotspots in China: Sino-Ocean Taikoo Li in Chengdu, SKP-S in Beijing, and THE Hall in Shanghai. These limited-time events brought the star insignia of JIMMY CHOO / ERIC HAZE CURATED BY POGGY front and center and allowed consumers to bathe in the collection’s retro vibes. At THE Hall, guests could also view and purchase the cult collectable toy BE@RBRICK, which debuted as part of the capsule, rendered in an iridescent form to match Haze’s star theme. The JIMMY CHOO / ERIC HAZE BE@RBRICK sold out the morning it launched, living up to its hype.

The JIMMY CHOO / ERIC HAZE BE@RBRICK, available at THE Hall and other select locations, is offered in two variations with very limited quantities. Photo: Courtesy

Notably, the limited-time boutique in Chengdu generated impressive social media buzz thanks to the attendance of Chinese celebrities. For the launch on October 12, Asia Brand Ambassador Victoria Song was seen sporting Jimmy Choo’s signature LOVE pump and a matching black and white tote bag. Wang Ziyi and Casper, two Chinese singers, similarly rocked the sleek street looks, with a video featuring the three garnering almost 150,000 views on the brand’s official Weibo. Posts by the individual artists, along with other KOLs and fashion accounts, helped the hashtag #JIMMYCHOOxERICHAZE gain over 65 million views.

By hosting these immersive experiences, Jimmy Cho not only showcases its brand culture and special editions but, more importantly, cultivates a deeper connection with attendees. Although China is expected to become the first country in the world where e-commerce accounts for a majority of retail sales, physical retail still offers luxury shoppers personalized interactions and a sense of status. Plus, concept stores like these give consumers something to post about online, expanding the brand’s awareness even more.

Taking high fashion to the virtual world

Now, Jimmy Choo is further pushing the envelope on luxury collaborations by entering the digital realm. On October 20, a digital version of the sneaker created for the capsule, set against a canvas of Haze’s signature script, will drop on the Binance NFT platform for auction. All profits from the auction will be donated to The Jimmy Choo Foundation in support of Women for Women International, helping women survivors of war rebuild their lives.

Alongside this animated artwork, Jimmy Choo will also make 8,888 Mystery Boxes available for purchase on Binance NFT for 30 BUSD. These will be divided into four tiers of scarcity: a single Jimmy Choo / Eric Haze LOVE 100 Glitter, 445 super-rare cards, 3,109 rare cards, and 5,333 neutral cards. Those who score Mystery Boxes from the top two levels of scarcity get the chance to receive another exclusive NFT design, while the auction’s highest bidder will receive a limited-edition pair of sneakers from the brand.

Jimmy Choo is launching two NFT initiatives, a sneakers auction (left) and Mystery Boxes (right), enhancing the capsule’s collectability. Photo: Courtesy

Serving as the final prong of Jimmy Choo’s “Chasing Stars” Collection, these two virtual initiatives reinforce the capsule’s exclusiveness and collectability. But more interestingly, they also play into two key trends in China: the NFT boom and the blind box phenomenon. Although the country’s crypto market has recently come under fire, NFTs are still flourishing as Chinese tech giants like Tencent and Alibaba build out NFT platforms and products. Meanwhile, blind boxes have charmed young consumers with their element of surprise, with the sector expected to grow to 30 billion yuan ($4.6 billion) by 2024.

At the crossroads of gamification, art, and fashion, Jimmy Choo’s multi-layered collaboration ultimately offers Chinese shoppers something special both online and offline. In particular, through the NFT and Be@rbrick elements, the brand cleverly brings a dimension of scarcity and collectability traditionally associated with the art world into the fashion space. Here, “Chasing Stars” refers to more than just the iconography on its sneakers; it refers to a mindset of taking risks and creating products and retail experiences that outshine the competition.