If we don’t cooperate, what luxury is (and will be)?

Co-lab fashion is a trend that never loses its edge and, for 2022, promises sparks thanks to the Yeezy GAP project engineered by Balenciaga. The history and evolution of a trend that has changed the face of the fashion system and luxury goods

It is a trend that comes from afar. It dominated 2021. It promises to be a spark in 2022. And if before it could be reduced to the formula “luxury calls sport: sport (happily) answers”, in recent months its challenge has been raised to a higher level, not only generating hybrids of different creative codes. But also by bringing together worlds that for a long time were far apart. Welcome, then, to the age of ‘let’s collaborate, collaborate, collaborate more and more.

More and more collaboration

Balmain with Puma, Prada with Adidas, Dior with Nike. Two years ago, collaborations between luxury and sport became the rule. They caused a stir at first. But the fashion system quickly digested them, making them almost systemic. And so the bar has immediately been raised, with (extremely rich) synergies between luxury and streetwear and, above all in 2021, between competing brands.

The aim: to churn out content more frequently in order to attract new consumers and build the loyalty of those already acquired. A perpetual motion whose last leap upwards is underway: 2022 will, in fact, be the year of the marriage between Balenciaga and Yeezy who, together, will design a collection for Gap.

The 2021 podium and Chiuri’s scepticism

In 2021, brand collaborations have been nothing short of amazing. They explored a whole new world, also on a commercial level. The podium is soon done: Gucci & Balenciaga with The Hacker Project; Fendace (between Fendi and Versace) and Supreme x Tiffany. But many others were almost unthinkable, so distant did the leading brands seem. After all, shortening great distances is often a winning move to win over consumers across the board. But there are those who say no. For example, Dior’s Maria Grazia Chiuri doesn‘t want to know about so-called co-labs because she says, some of her younger colleagues are like DJs, “sampling and mixing“, while she prefers to play her own music.

The hype for 2022

Collaborations, however, continue to rage and the one that is creating the most hype is called Yeezy GAP engineered by Balenciaga. A US fast fashion brand (GAP), an haute couture label with a 100-year history, Kanye West’s label. What could be more distant, unpredictable and cool? The basic concept is democratic fashion, which has always been Kanye West’s mission: deus ex machina of Yeezy and rapper. Kanye West is a friend of Virgil Abloh, to the point that some would like him to be his successor at Louis Vuitton. Former husband of Kim Kardashian.

The first result of Yeezy GAP engineered by Balenciaga is scheduled for June 2022. No advance notice, at least for the moment, but the duet between Kanye West and Demna Gvasalia (artistic director of Balenciaga) promises sparks. The two protagonists have long had mutual respect for each other and are both undisputed champions of this kind of project. The hype surrounding them is more than justified.

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