How designer brands are targeting new consumers

July 7, 2021

Written by Kimberly Monitto

Crocs, the comfortable shoes that divide opinion across the globe, have experienced something of a resurgence this year, announcing in their first-quarter earnings that the company had made $98 million, compared to $11 million the year before. 

Using that as a springboard, and alongside the fact that the shoes are now seen as something of a fashion statement, Crocs has entered into a partnership that has gained significant public interest in the last few weeks  — a stiletto made with Balenciaga that debuted at the designer brand’s fashion show.

Balenciaga x Crocs

Graph showing public and media engagement surrounding the Crocs x Balenciaga collaboration
Since June 1st, the story has resulted in almost 400k interactions across the web. Many have been surprised that a designer brand like Balenciaga would collaborate with Crocs, but this is not the first time that luxury has collaborated with more everyday brands. We conducted a search on how designer brands have been targeting new consumers by partnering with more affordable fashion stores, and how those partnerships have been covered in the media. 

Let’s dive into the data. 

Chart showing the top articles about the Crocs x Balenciaga collaboration

The top story about the partnership between Balenciaga and Crocs came from Diply’s DIY platform, Crafty, with 122.3k engagements. Also topping the chart were LadBIBLE, Complex, and NPR

Jezebel posted a story asking what the general public thought of the creation, with most replies being shocked and confused. As Crocs are usually seen as a shoe of comfort, many commenters were perplexed about the addition of a heel, which goes against the entire point of the shoe. Paper Mag and The Daily Mail received similar comments on their posts about people being “horrified.” 

Similarly to Balenciaga, Kanye West’s Yeezy brand announced last year that they’d be partnering with Gap. Gap’s struggles had been apparent, and partnering with West would not only bring a new level of style to the average consumer, but boost their projected sales by millions of dollars.

Yeezy x Gap

Chart showing the top stories about the Yeezy x Gap collaboration

CNN topped the charts with 17.5k interactions, with their article about the first piece of Yeezy clothing released being a $200 jacket. Yeezy items range in price, but $200 for a limited edition jacket is considered a deal for the brand. The drop was considered a “shock drop,” as it was only one jacket of limited stock that was released for purchase at 3 am ET. All of the traffic caused the website to crash, as TMZ reported in their article with 6.1k engagements.

Complex reported that this wasn’t an unusual tactic — before his release of Yeezus in May 2013, video clips of his face rapping along to his song ‘New Slaves’ began playing seemingly randomly on buildings in major cities around the world as part of its promotion. 

West and Gap kept the allure of the brand by hyping up its release and performing a shock drop, but with the lower price and the partnership, it completely reintroduced the concept to a newer audience, and garnered considerable attention while doing so. 

Christopher John Rogers x Target

Hashtags showing overall views on Christopher John Rogers on Tik Tok

Christopher John Rogers is a 25-year-old Black designer from Louisiana who rose to fame after winning the 2019 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund — an endeavor led by Anna Wintour that acts as a fast lane for putting emerging designers on the map. Rogers has recently made headlines for his collaboration with Target. He’s made garments for the likes of Lizzo, Michelle Obama, and Priyanka Chopra

Recently, the designer teamed up with Target in collaboration with their “Designer Dress Capsule” initiative, offering designer dresses to Target consumers, priced between only $40-$60.

Roger’s dresses blew up on the popular app Tik Tok, especially after a video went viral of two women calling the pieces “hideous.” Users on the app quickly came to his defense, and with over 1M engagements across two hashtags, it’s obvious that his collection was popular with consumers. 

Whether it be the style or the name, there is a pull towards designer clothing that many people feel. By making these items more accessible and allowing a new market to partake in luxury, brand value, and respect, will only continue to rise.

If you’d like to examine the earned media coverage that made an impact for your brand, check out NewsWhip Spike here.


Kimberly Monitto

Kimberly is a Marketing Intern for NewsWhip using her amalgamation of journalistic and marketing skills to uncover new stories with NewsWhip’s technology. She’s particularly interested in global politics, sports, and the intersection of gender and education.

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