By Stephanie Israel
The recent collaboration between the popular surf-wear brand, Stussy, and the recognised high-end brand, Dior, is a prime example of the recent spike in partnerships between sports and designer.
The menswear fall collection was masterminded by Kim Jones, Dior’s current artistic director of menswear. Jones has previously collaborated with streetwear brand KAWS, which ended up being a very successful collection. This was evident by the extortionate resell prices. He was also the brain behind the iconic team-up between Supreme and Louis Vuitton, which has arguably been the most anticipated high-end, low-end collaboration so far, setting the bar high for every other collaboration that came thereafter.
The unexpectedness of this collaboration has made for an incredibly exciting event in the fashion industry. In an interview with Woman’s Wear Daily, Jones mentioned that he used to wear Stussy clothing from “head-to-toe all the time” during his teen years. Shawn Stussy, the founder of the Stussy brand who left his chairman position in 1996, worked directly with Jones in this collaboration. The team-up has gained a lot of anticipation and response that is widely positive, due to Shawn Stussy going back into the spotlight especially to work in the collection since his retirement in 1996. Stussy said in the interview“I was just in a good place in my adventure, and he’s [Jones] in a good place, and the stars just seemed to kind of line up. And if I’m going to come out for a last hurrah, why not with Dior? That’s the way I look at it. It’s the very top of the top. I have nothing but respect.”
The recent upsurge of partnerships between low-end and high-end fashion brands has evidently widened the market for established designer fashion houses that have traditionally had exclusive buyers. By teaming up with a familiar name that younger and mainstream markets are fans of, there is a sense of unprecedented accessibility for these buyers, regardless of the fact that the products are still teetering on the designer brand’s usual price range. Furthermore, the exclusivity of the items in these collections also create hype, therefore are valuable to those who are looking to resell. Although buying is competitive the hustle is worth it for the profit. In turn, both brands involved in the collaboration are satisfied with the sales and can successfully continue on developing as single, separate entities.
The Dior x Stussy branding incorporates Stussy’s distinct graffiti-style lettering, which is a nod to the brand’s Californian surf heritage. The bright colours and bold prints in the collection designed independently by Shawn Stussy is typical of the summer, beachy ‘camp shirts’ his brand is famous for producing. There are very clear psychedelic undertones in the patterns and combination of colours in the prints of the garments. Stussy’s repeated pattern designs are all elevated by Dior’s technical expertise. As revealed in a documentary video published in the Christian Dior YouTube channel, the process in making the garments is so specific as it is a very ancient and artisanal technique, only practised today by a family in Japan.
On the 3rdof December 2019, the collection was unveiled. However, many leaked images were seen beforehand showing accessory items and a simple logo shirt. However, the garments seen on the runway are far more impressive and really show the handmade and masterful qualities of the pieces. With colourful, flowery beaded bucket hats that match vibrant flowy tops, it is undoubtedly very summer-inspired. However, these are all balanced out by warm toned bottoms and outerwear. The Dior x Stussy logo is also very apparent in the pieces, with some items showing off the repeated logo in different colours. Furthermore, traditional Dior items that they are known for, such as the saddle bag has received an upgrade in line with the collaboration’s branding, making it one of the most highly sought-after items from the collection.
The preciseness of the technique used to make the pieces is a reason in itself to be excited for the collection. The exclusivity of the process in handmaking the patterns is definitely impressive and makes the high price points justifiable and worth purchasing. The fact that Shawn Stussy himself also agreed to come out in the spotlight for this one special partnership, just goes to show the passion and dedication both designers poured into this collection.
Jones’ experience in taking two contrasting brands and blending them to create unique and masterful designs is definitely why this collaboration is successful. With Dior’s current playful state of exploring outside of their usual bubble and Stussy’s successful assimilation into contemporary streetwear fashion has made for an outstanding partnership.
What makes these kinds of collaborations so successful is the uniqueness of blending seemingly contrasting industries such as couture and street-wear. At this point, this juxtaposition can only be described as the defining characteristic of contemporary fashion.