On November 23rd, tech giant Samsung announced their new Flip Phone in collaboration with Maison Margiela, the Galaxy Z Flip5. Maison Margiela is an esteemed French fashion brand known for their shoes and perfume, whereas Samsung is a Korean technology company. It’s an interesting combination that deserves a deeper look.
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Eyes on Asia
European brands looking east is nothing new. Previously, I’ve written an article about the partnership between Levi’s, an American heritage brand, and KENZO, a French-Japanese brand. In the last decade, luxury fashion brands have noticed that the buying power in East Asia is bigger than in Europe and North America. They’re more willing and able to buy luxury goods. This only escalated after the Covid-19 pandemic. While Western consumers were more keen on saving their money, East Asian customers splurged.
While the focus used to be on China and the UAE, Japan and South Korea have now caught up with them. According to a recent Statista research, China brings in 9.5 billion U.S. dollars for the luxury goods market, followed by Japan at 7.6 billion U.S. dollars.
Fashion brands want a cut of that revenue. This is why fashion houses announce new ‘global’ ambassadors, often from South Korea, Japan or China. These ambassadors are celebrities in their own right, often ‘idols’ (read: K-pop singers with a dedicated following) that have a huge influence on their fans.
Fashion meets technology
However, it seems that fashion brands are looking at other avenues to create brand awareness in East Asia. The Samsung x Maison Margiela collaboration is an example of that. It’s cross-medial: technology and fashion. It’s an exciting move within the fashion industry and it shows their interest in technology beyond AI, NFT’s and the Metaverse.
Samsung is a large and trusted brand in Asia. In 2023, Samsung maintains its position as the leading phone distributor in Asia. That is probably one of the reasons Maison Margiela chose to work with them. Through this collaboration, Margiela is able to popularise their name in countries such as South Korea, Japan and China. Moreover, Samsung x Maison Margiela created a campaign for Vogue Korea. To advertise the product, they used young, male idols to pinpoint the market they want to tap into.
In the future, we’ll probably see more luxury goods brands working with companies outside of their industry, such as the culinary and sports industry.