Nike is a powerhouse of collaborations, collaborating from skate shops to rappers and even ice-cream companies. Sometimes these collaborations create an entirely new shoe but most of the time it’s Nike giving the collaboration partner a original Nike shoe as a template to create a new colourway. Some parts on why Nike decides to do collaboration projects is clear. Through collaborations Nike is able to attract the fans of the collaboration partner and absorbing them as fans of Nike as well. Also if a famous celebrity collaborates with Nike it establishes Nike as a “cool” brand and allow it to keep up with the new generation and preserving its stance in the fashion industry. However, collaborations are also a tool for Nike to bring back classics and give them guaranteed success in sales. This is a side which isn’t discussed as much.
First Nike decides to bring back a classic sneaker to the market. However, the classic shoe may be out of style and Nike may not be certain whether the sneaker will rack enough sales. So, here is where Nike’s marketing trickery begins. Before releasing a general colourway Nike will do a collaboration with a respectable brand or figure. Through a limited colourway of the soon to be released classic shoe, Nike is able to generate hype from the fans of the collaboration partner and also other people who generally like the colourway. Through the hype Nike is able to make the a shoe that was out of style, stylish and creating a new fanbase for the shoes. Since the colourway of the shoe is a limited edition, not everyone will be able to buy the sneaker. So there is a growing demand for the shoe. This is when Nike releases a general colourway of the shoe and people who missed out on the colourway will buy the general release at least to get some satisfaction of wearing a shoe that they missed out on. Also the newly established fanbase of the shoe brand will also buy the sneaker. Using the collaboration tool, Nike is basically able to create new trends for their liking.
One recent example of this marketing tool being implemented is the Nike Air Zoom Spiridon Caged 2. Initially released in 2003, the shoe made a comeback in the form of a collab before it’s OG colourway release. Through collaborating with Stussy, a popular streetwear brand, Nike was able to generate hype for the Spiridon Caged 2. After its limited collab release, Nike has released a general colourway for the sneaker and the demand for the sneaker is as popular as the limited release. There may be people who having been waiting 17 years for the sneaker to re-release, but the majority who will buy the OG colourway is likely to have heard the sneaker through the hype of the Stussy collab. And I have huge doubts that the Spiridon OG colourway would have been as popular without a collaboration to fuel the hype for the sneaker.
In conclusion, this article was written to show another aspect of why Nike and other brands may engage in collaboration projects. While to giving a brief insight into how Nike and the collaboration partners may select which shoe to collaborate with. Obviously there are cases where Nike releases a entirely new sneaker in the form of the Nike X FOG collab, but in most cases Nike uses collaborations not only as a marketing tool but to create a new trend for their existing sneakers.