Street brands are popularly involved in anime collaborations, such as Diadora’s “Astro Boy” and Bape x “Pokémon.” Today, the larger fashion industry is tapping into this niche market.
The latest fashion-anime collaboration comes from the Jordan brand, which has partnered with New Orleans Pelicans power forward Zion Williamson and Williamson’s self -expressing favorite anime show, “Naruto.” The collection, launched on May 18, includes character-inspired sneakers and T-shirts. Prices range from $ 35- $ 130 on the Nike website and various sports retailer stores. Earlier, on April 26, French fashion brand Maje released a limited collection featuring the classic anime character Sailor Moon. And on April 15, Dolce & Gabbana announced its latest collaboration “Jujutsu Kaisen.”
The desire to stay relevant with young consumers may be the biggest driving force behind these collaborations. In early 2020, a U.S. survey reported that 27% of American adults aged 18-29 had a favorable view of anime. The average anime fan is 24.4 years old. While the anime genre has a variety of content that appeals to different demographics, most people who watch are Gen Zers. According to Grandview Research, from 2021-2028, the global anime market will grow by 9.7%. In the US, that increase is greater than 15.5%.
For its part, Dolce & Gabbana, partnered with “Jujutsu Kaisen” after the show’s film debut, dubbed “Jujutsu Kaisen 0.” The film grossed $ 31.4 million at the U.S. box office. D&G’s “Jujutsu Kaisen” collection includes 30 styles from earrings and handkerchiefs to blazers and bags, with prices ranging from $ 300- $ 4,000. To sell the collection, “Jujutsu Kaisen” director Sunghoo Park illustrates the eight main characters of the anime in their respective Dolce & Gabbana outfits. In addition, Dolce & Gabbana opened three pop-up stores in Shibuya, Japan from April 27-May 3 to present an immersive experience with the products.
Even if Dolce & Gabbana’s customized look for “Jujutsu Kaisen” isn’t available for purchase online, the collection quickly garnered attention and praise from TikTok fans and Twitter. Dolce & Gabbana, itself, has just posted six promotional posts for the Twitter and Instagram collaboration, but the fan-made TikToks saw nearly 2.5 million views, 650,000 likes, 23,000 shares and 7,000 comments.
“Trends come from communities, and [Dolce & Gabbana] good to the community. So they got a good response [on social media]”said Ashley Paintsil, a fashion and media researcher in the communications department at the University of Delaware.
Other luxury brands are tapping into the popular anime characters. Studio Ghibli, the animation studio that created the 2003 Oscar-winning film “Spirited Away,” partnered with Loewe in January 2022. The line consists of 54 embroidered and intarsia-knitted shirts, sweaters and jackets; prices range from $ 450- $ 6,400.
For many millennials and Gen Zers, these collections have been tied to the ever -increasing trend of nostalgia seen in fashion and culture.
“When a pandemic comes out, people want things that are fun or remind them of themselves. It’s definitely a way of trying to reach Gen Z and reach their interests,” Paintsil said. “[Luxury brands] probably only reached a subset of Gen-Z consumers can afford [luxury collections]… But it’s still a good touchpoint, to get a little something out of them. ”
Caleb Arbaugh, a social media commentator who specializes in anime collaborations with brands like Samsung and Bape, points out that, in the past, luxury brands like Louis Vuitton and Harrods collaborated. with skateboard brands. In the past, people saw luxury and skateboards as an unusual pair, and the same can be said for collaborations with luxury anime brands, he said.
“Luxury brands [are] adapting to a different culture and anime that has become more popular, ”he said. “Brands that don’t collaborate with anime or skateboard brands, or just artists in general, [not doing it] to their own death. ”
However, costumes aren’t the only way these collaborations can come to life. For example, Gucci collaborated on the anime film “One Piece” last Sept. 2020 for an official lookbook, where the creator of the anime, Eiichiro Oda, draws characters for Gucci’s “Fake/Not” collection. In October 2018, Balenciaga collaborated on the anime film “Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure,” in which the main character Bruno Bucciarati was portrayed in an appearance from the Balenciaga 2018 Fall collection for the cover of a magazine.
“It’s valuable that brands can come together with the new manga [comic] with characters dressed in the latest luxury fashion, however [collaborations] it doesn’t have to be a constant sale, ”Arbaugh said.