Nearly-50-year-old footwear brand Timberland, known for its rugged boots, is on a collaboration kick, recently rolling out innovative styles with fashion brands including Pangaia and Jimmy Choo.
Starting in January, Timberland will celebrate its milestone anniversary with a year of activations. One of its more successful plays in recent years has been driving collaborations aimed at younger, more design-driven shoppers.
“As a design-led brand, we look at our collaborations in a meaningful way,” said Drieke Leenknegt, CMO at Timberland. “[We ask] ‘How can this partnership make us better?’ ‘How can we, as partners, create new space?’ And, ‘How can we push our product forward and inspire our consumers?’”
The brand takes part in at least four collaborations a year, with 2022’s partners including Jimmy Choo, Supreme, Pangaia and jewelry brand Veneda Carter. “Collabs are used as a way to test out new, fresh and progressive approaches, and bring culture closer to our consumer,” said Leenknegt. “In terms of KPIs, we aim for elevated performance — reach, impressions, engagement and sell-through — in a short window of time.” The Veneda Carter collaborative collection, launched in September, sold through 80% in the first 24 hours.
“We collaborate with partners because, together, we can do things we can’t do on our own,” said Leenknegt. “We can stretch our brand and build beyond the classics. It’s the “one-plus-one-equals-three” effect.”
VF Corporation, which owns Timberland, along with Vans and Dickies, announced in October that its second-quarter revenue dipped 4% year-over-year across the three brands. For its part, Vans is 56 years old. Dickies is 100.
Launched November 30, Timberland worked with luxury footwear brand Jimmy Choo on a collection featuring five styles for women and two for men. One style featured Jimmy Choo’s signature bedazzled style on a classic Timberland 6-inch boot. Another style paired Timberland’s harness boot with black patent leather. Jimmy Choo creative director Sandra Choi, alongside Shanel Campbell, who’s the founder of Bed on Water and a partner of Harlem’s Fashion Row, conceived the designs. The intention was to bring a luxury look to popular Timberland boots.
“Working with Harlem’s Fashion Row and Shanel Campbell brought a new dimension to the collaboration,” said Choi. “Shanel is a true New Yorker, living and breathing the heartbeat of this vibrant city, and she infused that into the collection. We combined our [three brands’] DNAs to create beautiful and surprising pieces.” The collaboration was the second from the Timberland and Jimmy Choo — the first launched in 2020.
The new collab was marketed across both brands’ websites, as well as their Instagram and TikTok accounts. The collection is available to shop at Jimmy Choo and Timberland retail locations around the world, as well as the brands’ stockists including luxury retailers Selfridges, Mytheresa and Farfetch.
Leenknegt said Jimmy Choo was an ideal collaborator as one of the most well-known luxury footwear brands for women. Capri Holdings owns Jimmy Choo, which is the smallest brand in the company’s brand portfolio. In the company’s last financial year, which closed on April 2, Jimmy Choo reported a 46.5% sales increase year-over-year, to $613 million.
Timberland is also teaming with innovative brands that push the company in new directions. In October, it collaborated with material science company Pangaia. “Pangaia is one of the leading eco-innovators in fashion, and together we are driven by a vision for a greener future,” said Leenknegt. “We took the cultural icon, the Original Yellow Boot, and pushed it out in renewable materials, like responsibly grown rubber and abaca plant fiber, in an amazing Pangaia color palette. We also created a mule silhouette that’s fully designed for circularity through our Timberloop design platform.” The collab, which is still available, featured features boots in “Galaxy Pink,” “Palm Green” and Timberland’s signature “Wheat”.
For Pangaia, the collaboration brings attention to the materials used, and helps scale material innovation to a wider shopper base. The collaboration has been promoted across both brands’ sites and social media channels, and Pangaia is donating a portion of sale proceeds to its Tomorrow Tree Fund to support grassroots NGOs. “Our goal was to stay true to the classic DNA of an iconic silhouette while using renewable materials and standout colorways,” Leenknegt said.