Brands collaborate and cobrand all the time, but this sometimes leads to partnerships that seem unlikely. One such partnership is the newly released line Jimmy Choo for H&M, which is available in 200 stores all over the UK and the world.
The logo design and marketing concept is simple, with a single shoe from the line shown with both logos to the right. The plain, gray Jimmy Choo logo doesn’t seem to merge well with the bright, bold splash of colour that makes up the H&M logo, but the studded pump is admittedly divine. Anyone who questions the aesthetics of an H&M shoe will be silenced by this image.
The line will include not just the studded heels shown, but strappy heels, animal print sandals, and thigh high boots. The line will also offer clothing, handbags, and statement jewelry. Prices are steep by H&M standards with a pair of boots costing £179.99, but still far cheaper than Jimmy Choo’s own collection.
What does this mean for both brands? Neither will be losing a logo design, but part of the brand identity may get lost in the shuffle when two diverse brands merge, even temporarily. First, H&M is known first and foremost as a value brand. They offer a variety of fashionable choices at low prices, but the quality and styling are not remarkable. Adding the high quality, high equity name of Jimmy Choo to their repertoire will certainly create a more High Street image.
Who doesn’t want an upscale image? In H&M’s case, it could actually work against them. Customers to the store may feel that they are being asked to choose between value and quality—that is, H&M’s normal attire or the more upscale choices branded with Jimmy Choo’s name. If another brand promises low prices and high quality in the same purchase—and many brands right now do—customers may flock to a store that doesn’t force them to choose.
While this collaboration may be detrimental to H&M, Jimmy Choo actually has more to lose. This shoemaker is known for fanciful designs of high quality ingredients, expertly crafted into a work of art that women all over the world pay four figures to wear while hobbling about. While the designs in this new line are reminiscent of Jimmy Choo’s signature lines, the quality and craftsmanship are likely lacking. This may end up diminishing Jimmy Choo’s brand image in the long run, as his name becomes associated with this lower end product.
If the H&M branded line is made with the same quality as Jimmy Choo shoes heretofore, the designer actually stands to lose more. If a woman can buy a reasonably priced pair of Jimmy Choo heels from H&M, why will she spend three times as much (or more) for a similar product elsewhere?
On the other hand, both brands may contribute positively to the collaboration and create a lovely blend of value and haute couture that brings the masses through the door in droves. Many women in London and the UK will be happy to be able to afford the powerful brand of Jimmy Choo, which is generally unattainable to the middle classes. We will be watching to see where this unusual partnership takes both brands.