About ten years ago the top fashion and women’s interest magazines started phasing in established celebrities as their cover girls, in effect shutting out the modeling industry. This may have contributed to the “death” of the supermodel (compared to the 1990s, significantly fewer models are presently household names) and may have helped to fuel the rampant celebrity worship and wild tabloid industry.
Taking the trend a bizarre step further, now some companies are not only using non-model celebs to sell goods – they’re using non-humans! And we’re not talking about that Keith-Richards-for-Louis-Vuitton ad…
Collaborations are nothing new in the fashion world: Target and H&M have been the biggest trendsetters for moderate retail prices for designer items. Between them, they’ve brought Luella, Cavalli, Lagerfeld, Proenza Schouler, and other visionaries to the mall masses. And beyond that, designers work with other designers, artists, even musicians.
So it makes sense for creative types to work with other creative types, right? Well, these new pairings are like nothing we ever expected! We’re not even halfway into 2008, and already we’ve spotted three cartoon campaigns: Kermit the Frog for Supreme, Kool-Aid for Reebok, and a Kellogg’s urban wear line.
In early March we started seeing Kermit rocking a [XXS?] classic Supreme tee in posters in the Lower East Side. The campaign launch coincided with the opening of Terry Richardson’s photography exhibit (centered on the iconic amphibian) at Colette in Paris. Like Kate Moss and Mike Tyson before him, Kermie cemented his relevance to young America by posing for the NY streetwear mainstay.
Kool-Aid Man is still on the back of every bus in Brooklyn a month after Reebok launched its Instant Classic line: your favorite sneaker flavors in the Pro Legacy style. The shoes are not only cherry- and grape-colored, but also scented! Reebok released the full line of five shoe flavors March 15, with matching T-shirts, hoodies, and caps.
Finally, have you ever wished you could dress deliciously without the word “Juicy” on your bottom? Pop culture icons in their own right, the characters from your favorite breakfast cereals are now branded on clothing. Under the “Under the Hood” brand, Kellogg’s is selling tees, jackets, hoodies and jeans; the line combines the urban edge of tall tees and baggy pants with the innocuousness of Tony the Tiger and Toucan Sam.
Perhaps we can blame Murakami’s popularity via Marc Jacobs for these two-dimensional characters’ forays into fashion. (OK, Kermit is three-dimensional, but we don’t think he can blink.) These spokes-creatures are getting jobs primarily with streetwear companies, though, but can the major design houses be safe for long?
We’ll just take this as a sign that the art and advertising people in the fashion industry are broadening their horizons, trying to expand their audiences, and maybe want an extra buck. We can see the fun in it and see no reason to worry that Bert & Ernie will replace Dolce & Gabbana.
Andy Wass’ Blog is at: www.avant-garb.net.