The Opinionated Designer: How Starter’s Budweiser collaboration is fuelling the fire of alcohol licensing

In the first of a new regular column, Designer and Creative Consultant Emma Horton looks at how booze brands are making a splash in fashion.

Starter’s 50th Anniversary collection with Budweiser has again stirred talks about the fashion world and its alcoholic license collaborations.

The strategic partnership between the two, stemming from their shared iconic brand values and reach across both popular culture and sports, has been praised across the industry.

From Starter’s take on the iconic Budweiser logo to the timeless Nineties nostalgic nod to contemporary streetwear, the collection feels relevant to the current worldwide and industry trend, as well as remaining classic and true to both brands.

Emma Horton, The Opinionated Designer

Although this collection has a clear connection and heritage value behind it, it follows in the footsteps of a string of collaborations with seemingly more obvious meanings behind them.

The Palace Skateboards and Stella Artois collection released earlier this year was openly tapping into the British pub culture in a bid to perk up the consumer and get excitement building around finally being able to drink a cold beer in the pub again.

The outcome was a streetwear brand capsule range that was doing exactly what everyone was hoping and expecting – bold logos and prints with a mix up of garments spanning across bucket hats made from bar towel fabrications to denim jackets.

Emma Horton, The Opinionated Designer

It’s interesting then that every time you read a review or blog article about these alcohol collaborations, there are always disclaimers about acting responsibility and alcohol consumption. Add to this some collaborations we’ve seen with streetwear brands partnering with liquor brands for non-fashion ranges and it opens up the questions even further.

Both Ambush and Sacai – with Moet and Absolut Vodka respectively – have chosen to opt for the product placement route for their collaborations. Maybe these are more marketing moves than anything designed to generate hard cash, but they’re still interesting deals nonetheless.

Emma Horton, The Opinionated Designer

The future of alcohol and liquor brands in the licensing world is one that’s going to be really interesting to watch.

From experience working in the industry for many years – and always being asked to steer away from this genre – I am intrigued to see how these collaborations will affect the mainstream fashion market.

Are you feeling thirsty yet?

Emma Horton is a Designer and Creative Consultant at The Opinionated Designer.

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