Puma and Rihanna are collaborating again, rekindling their partnership after the Fenty label split in 2018. This new alliance will no doubt bring more creative energy and unique designs to the world of sports apparel! Puma’s earlier alliance with then-CEO Bjørn Gulden in 2013 resulted in a successful transformation of the company. The strategic decision proved to be fruitful and placed Puma back at the forefront of cultural relevance. The partnership also established a new template for how brands can leverage celebrity collaborations to expand their cultural cachet by aligning with a global superstar and giving them creative control over a bespoke product line. This approach helped reach new customers without diluting the brand’s overall identity.
However, in the current market, many brands are adopting a scatter-gun approach to celebrity collaborations, which has led to customers becoming increasingly desensitized. Having a celebrity collaborator doesn’t guarantee sales, and a botched deal can be a costly mistake. Adidas’ collaboration with Beyoncé, Ivy Park, saw sales plummet to a mere $40 million in 2022. This figure was shockingly low as compared to the brand’s original expectations of $250 million in revenue for that year.
While Rihanna’s business acumen is impressive, sneaker culture has changed, and many believe the market has peaked. Brands are returning to prioritizing beauty over the casual streetwear aesthetic that dominated luxury in the late 2010s. Many sneakerheads have moved on or grown up, and now people care more about limited-edition loafers than they do about what sneakers are dropping this week.
Also Read: Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty Sales Increase After SuperBowl Performance
Despite this, the next sportswear brand to strike gold with a celebrity sub-label could make billions of dollars in sales. The competition is fierce and Puma & Rihanna have a huge advantage. Fenty x Puma’s first project was a massive success, proving that even 5 years since their last sneaker released, the news of the partnership’s revival has created an incredible amount of online buzz. Fenty x Puma’s “Suede Creepers” and fur slides are highly desirable and can be obtained on sites like Stock X & Goat for a hefty price, with the creepers going for up to $310 and the slides for $215.
While Puma and Rihanna’s reunion has the potential to be successful, the current market is competitive and fast-paced, and brands need to execute their collaborations flawlessly to stand out. They must avoid being criticized for being opportunistic or producing unappealing products. Celebrity partnerships are no longer a novelty, and customers have become desensitized to them. Therefore, brands must focus on creating products that customers want to buy rather than relying solely on the star power of their celebrity collaborator.