In the week’s briefing:
- Fashion brands targeting Gen Z are paying to dress Netflix characters
- Luxury brands are dodging inflation’s effects
Actors are style influencers, obviously. Everyone knows that what Hollywood celebrities wear to awards shows and in social media posts has an impact on the fashion industry. But recently, there’s been just as much style influencing happening on screen as there is on the red carpet.
In June, the California surf brand Quiksilver designed a full collection of nostalgic ’80s apparel, created in collaboration with the costume design team of the Netflix show “Stranger Things.” Not only are the designs inspired by the show, but the recently-released fourth season includes several characters wearing the pieces on screen.
A beachy yellow button-down shirt worn by Finn Wolfhard’s character, Mike, in a roller rink scene, along with a pair of yellow-tipped shorts, is available, for example. A denim jacket worn by the character Nancy and blue-cuffed pants worn by the character Steve Harrington are also represented.
“Stranger Things” has become particularly known for the ’80s styles its characters wear. For Quiksilver, the chance to be the main provider of those styles and make them available for purchase online simultaneously with the season’s release was too good to pass up.
“We’ve been able to revive classic styles from the 1986 and 1987 Quik archives to align with ‘Stranger Things’ [season] 4, creating specific apparel for cast members and consumers alike,” said Quiksilver product developer Andrew Henry. “Nineteen eighty-six was a quintessential period for surfing and Quiksilver, with the Echo Beach era identifying California as the epicenter of surf culture. Close collaboration with the ‘Stranger Things’ costume designer, Amy [Parris], allowed us to create apparel for the characters of Season 4 that are so true to the ’80s period, reinforcing Quiksilver’s fashion influence during that era in a way that fits so naturally into the ‘Stranger Things’ plot.”
“Stranger Things” has a massive audience, particularly among Gen Z. The fourth season has been in Netflix’s top-10 most-watched list for 11 straight weeks since its release, with 930 million hours viewed in June alone.
Sperry, the New England boat shoe brand, has also been tapping into movies and television. While Sperry had previously worked with Netflix via a licensing deal for a collection inspired by the teen mystery show “Outer Banks,” those products were never actually worn in the show. But beginning next year, Sperry will have a number of its products worn in the upcoming second season of the Amazon Prime show “The Summer I Turned Pretty.”
“[The show] is another coastal young adult show [like ‘Outer Banks’] that fits really well with our aesthetic,” said Elizabeth Drori, CMO of Sperry. “That’s helping us generate excitement, especially with younger customers.”
“The Summer I Turned Pretty” is another show with a large Gen Z-following. The hashtag for the show, #thesummeriturnedpretty, has been viewed more than a billion times on TikTok.
Product placement on TV is a $23-billion-and-growing industry, especially in the age of streaming TV. Both Amazon and Peacock have recently unveiled tools that would even let brands digitally insert their products into a show after the fact, further expanding the possibilities of product placement, although neither Sperry nor Quiksilver used similar tools.
But getting product onto a show isn’t always easy. Courtney Wheeler and Cristina Spiridakis, the costume designers behind the Hulu show “The Bear,” which has received widespread attention for the meticulously dressed characters, said they typically don’t pick clothes for the characters they dress based on what brands want.
“It’s possible. It’s more likely to happen on larger movies and TV shows where the art department is working directly with a brand and a deal is worked out,” Wheeler said. “But that’s not our thing.”
Instead, she said the only thing they take into consideration is whether the clothes fit the character and are right for the story. Sometimes, brands might send them free clothes in the hopes that they end up using them in the show, but often those clothes are clearance items and just end up on background characters.
Spiridakis said brands also need to take seasonality into account, another obstacle in the way of getting their clothes on the small screen.
“We work on a show sometimes up to a year before it actually comes out,” Spiridakis said. “It’s not like a magazine or a music video, which will be out sooner and the brands can get their current season stuff in it. There’s not as much of an editorial payoff for something that won’t be out for a year.”
Quiksilver got around that issue by working with “Stranger Things” well in advance, spending three years planning out the costumes and designing them to be released simultaneously with the show. More impromptu partnerships are a lot harder to make happen, Spiridakis said.
Luxury brands are insulated from the worst of inflation
Earnings calls for luxury brands throughout the week didn’t show much impact from inflation at all, thanks to their higher price points and more affluent consumers.
Ralph Lauren and Capri Holdings both saw revenue increase last quarter by 8-9%, and inventory investments were up 66% and 47%, respectively.
At Canada Goose, revenue rose 24% last quarter, with DTC revenue performing particularly well, growing almost 20%.
These brands, each with customers who tend to be in higher income brackets, don’t base their value on the bargains they offer. Their customers are accustomed to high prices and pay for quality and brand name. Small increases in price don’t affect them quite as much as a brand like H&M, where low price is a selling point.
“We have a long history of taking price in excess of cost inflation, and that is grounded in the quality and functional value that our products provide,” said Jonathan Sinclair, evp and CFO of Canada Goose, on the brand’s first-quarter earnings call on Thursday. “Our differentiated operating level as a vertically integrated manufacturer and with most products made or purchased in Canada and higher average unit prices also help mitigate some of the inflationary pressures.”