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BALENCIAGA: HERITAGE + HYPE

BALENCIAGA’S INNOVATIVE APPROACH TO MARKETING, DISRUPTIVE COLLABORATIONS, AND IMMERSION IN THE WORLD OF TECH HAS SEEN GREAT SUCCESS WITHIN CONTEMPORARY MARKETS – ENABLING IT TO PERMEATE THE CONSCIOUSNESS OF THE FASHION INDUSTRY. HOW IS THE BRAND’S INNOVATIVE APPROACH REDEFINING LUXURY FOR CONSUMERS?

[originally commissioned by CANVAS8].

HIGHLIGHTS + DATA

  • Balenciaga has entered the metaverse and developed an engaging social media presence, enabling consumers to become ‘active participants’ with its brand 
  • The world of gaming and its growing online community has become a significant potential market for luxury fashion
  • People are increasingly looking for ways to express themselves within virtual worlds with virtual products
  • 62% of Gen Yers and Zers believe brands have the power to create communities based on common interests and passions (Marketing Drive, 2020)
  • 49% of people say that most brand collaborations without an element of storytelling are meaningless (Highsnobiety, 2021)
  • Only 21.7% of people believe brands are doing a good job of interacting with them (Aspire IQ, 2020)

SCOPE

From high fashion to a collaboration with The Simpsons and conducting interviews in the metaverse, Balenciaga had a significant influence on the style agenda in 2021. Its innovative strategy has positioned the brand as a luxury label that blends heritage and hype for modern consumers. Balenciaga’s new metaverse business unit plans to explore commerce and marketing opportunities in this highly virtual destination. “Right now the climax of interaction with a luxury brand is that you click like, or comment, or buy something,” explained CEO Cédric Charbit. “I think we can get to the next level.” [Business of Fashion (December 2021)] 

With consumers expecting to become more actively involved with the brands they follow, 78% of people want brands to use social media to bring them together. [Sprout Social (July, 2020)] Early adopters of this strategy, like Balenciaga, are jumping head-first into virtual worlds that offer higher consumer engagement. As much as the label looks to the future, they have also provided a window into the past with the ‘90s nostalgia of its Fall/Winter 2022 collection, where they produced a VHS-style video, tapping into a sentimental kick for all things analogue. [Highsnobiety (December 2021)]. “People put me in the box of someone who designs hoodies and sneakers – and that’s not really who I am,” said creative director Demna Gvasalia to Vogue upon launching his couture debut in 2021. [Vogue (July 2021)]

The fashion house has also entered the gaming sphere, collaborating with Gen Zer favourite Fortnite by enabling gamers to purchase virtual outfits and skins designed by the brand. With gamers already being a highly engaged audience, a November 2021 survey found that 50% of them are interested in purchasing a digital asset in the next 12 months. [Business of Fashion (November, 2021)] As such, Balenciaga jumped at the chance to enter this market, allowing them to remain on the pulse in terms of culture and ahead of the game in new immersive realities. As such, it’s appealing to shifting consumer behaviors through a contemporary approach and digital vision. Charbit has described the label as “a platform where anything is possible.” [The New York Times (December 2021)].

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Photography: Stef Mitchell
Photography: Stef Mitchell