In December of 2023, the Italian luxury brand Fendi announced a partnership with streetwear fashion FRGMT and the hyper-popular video game and animated media franchise Pokémon. Inspired by the Dragonite line, the collection will celebrate the Year of the Dragon and will be available online and in Fendi stores from early January 2024.
The three-way partnership brings a collection of bags with Fendi’s emblematic FF logo and the Dragon-type Pokémon Dragonite as well as other figures like Dratini and Dragonair. Beyond bags, it also includes t-shirts, hoodies, wallets, soft-chain bracelets, and charm necklaces. Players of Pokémon Go, an augmented-reality mobile game, will also have the opportunity to customize their avatars with digital accessories.
Hiroshi Fujiwara, the founder of FRGMT and the so-called godfather of streetwear, shared his excitement about the project, commenting, “It was a true honor to work with the house of FENDI, a traditional brand with outstanding craftsmanship. Grateful for this opportunity.”
The first video game in the history of the world, Tennis for Two, is believed to have been released in 1958 by physicist William Higinbotham. Since then, the industry has experienced astronomical growth—from classic arcade games such as Bubbles Shooter and Pacman to immersive RPGs (role-playing game) series of the likes of Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, and, of course, Pokemón. Unsurprisingly, the industry has become a billionaire business and the most profitable form of entertainment, with an estimated revenue of 249 billion USD in 2023.
Players of popular game franchises are known for consistently investing in their virtual experiences. World of Warcraft enthusiasts, for example, often purchase services like WoW boosts and acquire prestigious in-game items such as rare mounts, which can cost hundreds of dollars. Through partnerships with famous games, luxury brands seek to appeal to this vast demographic.
In addition to video games, Fendi has capitalised on celebrity and social culture through lucrative partnerships with Nicki Minaj and Skims. The former was launched in 2019 and featured a blend of high-end glamour and streetwear, showcasing the Trinidadian rapper’s signature color, hot pink. The exclusive collection offered bodycon dresses, tracksuits, puffer coats, and bikinis. Minaj, a longtime fan of the Italian brand, also released a single titled “Fendi” in collaboration with PnB Rock and Murda Beatz.
The SKIMS partnership followed in 2021. Co-founded by Kim Kardashian, the American shapewear and clothing brand is renowned for its neutral-shade swimwear, underwear, and skin-tight tops. The collection highlighted Fendi’s commitment to moving towards size inclusivity, a core element at the heart of Skims, which offers sizes from XS to 4X. This collaboration not only aimed to enhance the luxury brand’s public image but also resulted in increased sales. The Kardashian shapewear and clothing company is worth USD 4 billion and reported a profit of about USD 750 million in 2023.
In conclusion, the Fendi-FRGMT-Pokémon partnership reveals the Italian brand’s mission to continue expanding and reaching a wider audience. If the collaboration proves successful, we can anticipate more partnerships with popular intellectual properties and fashion brands.
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