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They are timeless footwear, yet always evolving. The original wooden versions in Europe were often associated with the working class, then became recognizable as an expression of culture (think dancing).
In more recent times, clogs became known by names like Crocs and Danskos. The former gave them the panache of high fashion before settling in to the landscape as a comfort shoe. Bringing the whole thing full circle, Crocs became the “it” shoe of the pandemic because of their comfort, and are now recognized as a DTC success story, as Bainbridge Growth recently detailed.
The styles have changed over the years, and they’ve been adorned with everything from hand-painted designs to Jibbitz. In this sense, they often reflect the times. A trio of collaborations this week offer a look:
Crocs x SZA
Two classics, both bursting with SZA charm. Make each step a lot more enjoyable. \u200b\n@sza X Crocs at https://crocs.shoes/SZAXCrocs\u00a0 #SZAXCrocspic.twitter.com/KPGWg8WI4q— Crocs (@Crocs) 1651755609
R&B singer-songwriter SZA is collaborating with Crocs in a timely release for Mental Health Awareness Month in May.
“Literally, every single outfit, they look so cool with my Jibbitz, no disrespect to anybody else’s Jibbitz,” SZA told The Cut in an interview. “With my Jibbitz, it’s, like, little gold accents and the cool pattern they form just make everything look super-cute and quirky, and I appreciate that.”
Along with style, the collab is showcasing mental health and self-care. SZA partnered with three people who advocate for Black mental health: Sage Adams, Yaris Sanchez, and Donte Colley. In turn, Crocs made a donation to three organizations of their choosing.
Given the current advocacy throughout our culture to prioritize mental health, the balance between self-expression and mental health here shows how a collab can reflect the public consciousness.
Crocs x General Mills
(Photo via General Mills/Crocs)
Cross-category collabs are in focus with another recent drop from Crocs.
The brand teamed with General Mills to release Cinnamon Toast Crunch-inspired clogs on April 27 via retailers like Foot Locker and Eastbay.
Like SZA’s, this pair of clogs has a brown-and-white pattern. But in this case it’s designed to evoke cereal rather than wood. They’re accented by Jibbitz that show facial expressions and the Cinnamon Toast Crunch logo.
The unlikely pairing was a big hit on TikTok before it even dropped. An unboxing video garnered more than two million views back in March, with the teaser sweetened by word that the clogs would smell like Cinnamon Toast Crunch.
Given the success, General Mills and Crocs aren’t stopping at one brand. It’s planning a full cereal collection, dubbed “Rise N’ Style.” Trix, Honey Nut Cheerios, and Cocoa Puffs are all set to get the Crocs treatment in July.
The latest collabs are by no means the first limited-edition product partnerships for Crocs, as the brand has worked with everyone from Balenciaga to Justin Bieber. Crocs have also paired with food before, having collaborated with KFC and Peeps.
In some ways, these collaborations appear made for the internet, with a novelty factor that’s designed to stand out on social media. But while some may seem random, collabs are a concerted strategy that aims to be responsive to the brand’s loyal fans.
“We’re trying to go after either a trend from a product perspective, or a cultural insight from a brand perspective, which really allows us to do what makes sense for Crocs in the moment,” Crocs CMO Heidi Cooley told Forbes recently.
It also shows how there is room for brands from different industries to work together to stand out in a crowded marketplace.
E.l.f. Beauty, another brand at the forefront of food partnerships, dropped its latest collab with Dunkin’ in April, offering five cosmetics products inspired by donuts and coffee. One of the items sold out online in 10 minutes, boston.com reported.
Dr. Scholls x GANNI
(Photo via GANNI)
Crocs isn’t the only brand teaming up with others in the clogs space.
The shoe style dates to the 1960s. That’s when Dr. Scholl’s Original Exercise Sandal first appeared. It went on to reach cult status over the next two decades. Ganni calls back to this heritage with a retro color palette, while adding its own signature smiles and hearts.
It’s often said that opposites attract, and that applies to brand collaborations, too. This brings together the practical and the fashionable; the understated and the colorful.
It also shows how fashion is moving toward sustainability. The sandal’s fabric is made of 100% certified organic cotton, its lining consists of 51% recycled polyester and the sole is made of manmade rubber and Forest Stewardship Council-certified wood. Dr. Scholl’s is also applying traceability technology developed by Provenance to disclose info about its supply chain and materials.
With a fresh look thanks to a partner and an updated approach to production, it shows how items with a long history can continuously get updated for a new generation.
Trending in Marketing
Labor disputes on the West Coast could cause further disruption heading into peak season.
When the first half of 2023 is complete, imports are expected to dip 22% below last year.
That’s according to new data from the Global Port Tracker, which is compiled monthly by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.
The decline has been building over the entire year, as imports dipped in the winter. With the spring, volume started to rebound. In April, the major ports handled 1.78 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units. That was an increase of 9.6% from March. Still it was a decline of 21.3% year over year – reflecting the record cargo hauled in over the spike in consumer demand of 2021 and the inventory glut 2022.
In 2023, consumer spending is remaining resilient with in a strong job market, despite the collision of inflation and interest rates. The economy remains different from pre-pandemic days, but shipping volumes are beginning to once again resemble the time before COVID-19.
“Economists and shipping lines increasingly wonder why the decline in container import demand is so much at odds with continuous growth in consumer demand,” said Hackett Associates Founder Ben Hackett, in a statement. “Import container shipments have returned the pre-pandemic levels seen in 2019 and appear likely to stay there for a while.”
Retailers and logistics professionals alike are looking to the second half of the year for a potential upswing. Peak shipping season occurs in the summer, which is in preparation for peak shopping season over the holidays.
Yet disruption could occur on the West Coast if labor issues can’t be settled. This week, ports from Los Angeles to Seattle reported closures and slowdowns as ongoing union disputes boil over, CNBC reported. NRF called on the Biden administration to intervene.
“Cargo volume is lower than last year but retailers are entering the busiest shipping season of the year bringing in holiday merchandise. The last thing retailers and other shippers need is ongoing disruption at the ports,” aid NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said. “If labor and management can’t reach agreement and operate smoothly and efficiently, retailers will have no choice but to continue to take their cargo to East Coast and Gulf Coast gateways. We continue to urge the administration to step in and help the parties reach an agreement and end the disruptions so operations can return to normal. We’ve had enough unavoidable supply chain issues the past two years. This is not the time for one that can be avoided.”