Blockbuster movies and hit TV shows will prove to be MAGICal this spring as entertainment franchises inspire fashion collaborations.
Upcoming theatrical releases will provide a platform for supportive cross-category apparel, activewear and accessories. Disney will look for partners at MAGIC that can extend its Marvel IPs, including Marvel's
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2
, into new territories. "There has been a tremendous level of growth and interest from apparel brands, most notably in the women's performance and activewear categories," says Paul Gitter, senior vice president of licensing, Marvel, at Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media.
Disney broadened the appeal of its Marvel IP among Millennial females when it teamed with fangirl fashion company Her Universe for a first-of-its-kind activewear capsule collection inspired by Marvel's
Captain America: Civil War
. The Marvel
Avengers: Infinity War
is in the wings for a 2018 release.
Disney will also be looking for new opportunities to extend its multi-billion dollar
brand, which will have a new major film release each year through 2020. Last year, Disney launched innovative apparel collaborations tied to
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
. Disney teamed up with Target for Force 4 Fashion, a fashion-meets-fundraising initiative inspired by the themes of rebellion from the movie. Disney also took
high end with a limited-edition collection of jackets from Columbia Sportswear inspired by characters in the film that retail from $450 to $500.
Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios will be showcasing
, set for a summer 2017 release, and Universal Pictures will be focusing on the fourth film in the enduring favorite
Despicable Me 3,
Jurassic World 2
, set for a summer 2018 release.
E. L. James' steamy blockbuster saga
will be a hot property at MAGIC with two new installments of the series,
Fifty Shades Darker
Fifty Shades Freed
, due in theaters in 2017 and 2018. Caroline Mickler, the U.K. licensing agent for James'
trilogy, teamed with Coco de Mer to launch a lingerie collection inspired by the series in advance of the release of
Fifty Shades Darker
Striker Entertainment, the licensing agent for edgier film and television IPs, such as the French science fiction action film
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
, is looking for innovative partners for the films and television shows it represents. The company recently signed a deal with Intimo for a line of "Five Nights at Freddy's" children's pajamas and will sign new partners for "Five Nights at Freddy's: Sister Location," the new version of its hit video game.
"We're looking for innovative partners who are not just doing the same things," says Marc Mostman, partner at Striker Entertainment. Mostman says Striker will be looking to collaborate on a sneaker collection and creative fashion ranges. "We're looking to create more collaborative fashion collections like the one we did for 'Orphan Black' with Hot Topic," he says.
Lately television has been a hotbed of inspiration for apparel licensing. "The entertainment industry has been making a transformational shift into lifestyle licensing," says Peter Leeb, vice president, global brand management and strategy, Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products.
Fox hit a lifestyle licensing home run for "Empire" when it partnered with large-scale and niche luxury brands for a multi-platform, in-store and online collection. The collection featured product from luxury fashion brands such as Alexis Bittar, Cushnie et Ochs and Jimmy Choo, and was sold at Saks Fifth Avenue. Fox also teamed up with fashion label Hood By Air for a streetwear collection.
"That was an unconventional approach, and those are the types of opportunities we'll look for at MAGIC this year," says Leeb. Fox will also try to replicate the success of that program with new partnerships for its new musical drama "Star."
"We're taking a holistic approach to our network so everything we do is a marketing extension to our various IPs," says Leeb. "The goal is to build long-term, sustainable brands in a complicated market, and we're looking for new ways of approaching the business with partners who are breaking away from the clutter."
Leeb said Fox will also be looking for partners for "Bob's Burgers," a show that has a loyal fan base, as well as for its evergreen "The Simpsons" and "Zorn," the studio's new first-ever animated/live-action blend.
The small screen has become a much larger force in the industry as Netflix and Amazon have produced pop-culture hits like "Stranger Things." Netflix has partnered with retailers Hot Topic and BoxLunch for a line of "Stranger Things" apparel, featuring t-shirts, raglans and tanks as well as Eleven's pink dress, exclusively available at Hot Topic. With season two debuting in summer 2017, the IP will be on consumers' minds.
New properties are always a big part of MAGIC. Nickelodeon recently signed a partnership with JoJo Siwa, the breakout star from "Dance Moms" and will be looking for partners across categories. "Jo-Jo has a social media following like no other and has a retail presence at Claire's," says Julie McKenzie, senior vice president of consumer products, Nickelodeon. "We have product shipping in March, and we're really excited about that. The tween market has been quiet for a while, and we believe this could be the next big thing."
Striker is also representing the edgy and irreverent animated series "Mr. Pickles" for the first time at MAGIC, where its licensing partner Changes will be showcasing a line of "Mr. Pickles" t-shirts, hoodies and sweatshirts.
New brands won't be the only hot IPs at MAGIC this year. The neo-'90s revival is going strong, and Nickelodeon and Fox are riding the nostalgia wave with licensed apparel lines. "The '90s are having such a moment," says McKenzie. "Millennials grew up on Nickelodeon. We were the first TV network designed for kids, and they love interacting with the brands they loved as kids."
Nickelodeon's partnerships with designer Jeremy Scott, Manhattan-based specialty retailer Story and streetwear brand Kith reached the adult and kid markets. "We're learning more about the passion and the bandwidth for our '90s properties as we do more of these retail collaborations," says McKenzie.
The return of "The X Files" and plans for the 20th anniversary of "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" in 2017 are Fox's neo-'90s plays.
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