5 Fashion and Beauty Brand Collaborations Redefining Licensing Partnerships

5 Fashion and Beauty Brand Collaborations Redefining Licensing Partnerships

The number of fashion and beauty brands we see popping up on Instagram and TikTok feeds is seemingly endless, leaving consumers with more choices than they know what to do with. Celebrity beauty brands alone have now surpassed $1 billion in sales, claiming market share that was once divvied up between select top brands. This ongoing change in the competitive landscape has forced both emerging and established brands to rethink their marketing strategies. 

According to The beauty market in 2023: A special State of Fashion report, “The changing dynamics will render the industry’s largely homogenous global playbooks of the past decades less effective and require brands to reassess their global strategies and introduce greater nuance and tailoring.” 

One effective play that we’re seeing is beauty brand collaborations with pop culture icons to stand out, drive relevance, and gain a competitive edge. In this article, we delve into innovative collaborations that have reshaped marketing campaigns of beauty brands to offer broader appeal. 

The Power of Fashion & Beauty Brand Partnerships to Extend Appeal

Partnerships with celebrities have been a go-to tactic for fashion and beauty brands for decades, but now a new strategy is emerging—partnerships between brands. This takes the tried-and-true strategy of growth through partnerships to the next level, amplifying both brands at the same time and generating buzz that enables them to reach new markets and demographics. Here are five innovative licensing partnership examples that are reshaping the beauty landscape, creating win-win (and even win-win-win) deals through collaboration.

1. Fendi x FRGMT x Pokémon Fashion and Pop Culture Collaboration

Italian fashion house Fendi departed from its traditional luxury look when it launched a playful new line in partnership with Japanese streetwear Fragment Design (FRGMT) and pop-culture icon Pokémon. Recognizing the surge in demand for nostalgia properties, Fendi, founded in 1926, supplemented its timeless design with a pop culture flare. The Fendi x FRGMT x Pokémon line incorporates the popularity of the 90s and early 2000s streetwear fashion and Pokémania into bags, apparel, accessories, and even digital avatar items available through Pokémon GO. The collection was released in Fendi boutiques and on Fendi.com in January 2024 to celebrate the Chinese Year of the Dragon.

Partnering with the two subcultures has extended Fendi’s trademark elegance and style to include a little bit of fun, opening brand appeal to a broader international audience and larger demographic. At the same time, the partnership has elevated the price point for Pokémon, along with higher-end FRGMT, paraphernalia, with a beaded baguette featuring the Dratini, Dragonair, and Dragonite characters retailing at $9,400. Those who would like to buy into the buzz at a lower cost can opt for a Dragonite T-shirt for a mere $850. Compare this to a non-Fendi and FRGMT Dragonite t-shirt sold on Pokémon Center that retails for $24.99; or a non-Fendi and Pokémon t-shirt sold by FRGMT for $77. 

2. Coty and Marni: Fashion Meets Beauty Collaboration

Shortly after the Fendi x FRGMT x Pokémon launch, beauty brand Coty forged a partnership with Italian luxury fashion brand Marni. Coty, the world’s largest fragrance company, was founded in Paris in 1904, and joined forces with the more contemporary Marni, founded 90 years later in Milan, incorporating Marni’s “unique youthful approach to luxury.”  The first product under the licensing agreement is scheduled to launch in 2026, with development, production, and distribution of new fragrances and beauty products expected to be released beyond 2040. 

In a press release dated February 6, 2024, Coty CEO Sue Nabi shared Coty’s drivers for entering into the agreement, stating, “This licensing agreement aligns with Coty’s highly successful strategic direction of focusing on fashion-driven licenses with multi-category potential that resonate across key markets.” This isn’t Coty’s first foray into a fashion and beauty brand collaboration. Just last year, Coty renewed a license agreement with high-end luxury brand Jil Sander, also owned by Marni parent company OTB Group. In the same press release, OTB Group CEO Ubaldo Minelli shared the company’s motivators, stating, “This long-term-vision agreement gives Marni the opportunity to shape its values in new, creative ways and to strengthen its luxury positioning by landing in the world of beauty and fragrances.”

3. Lush x Super Mario Bros. Movie Beauty Brand Collaboration

Just ahead of the April 2023 release of The Super Mario Bros. Movie, natural cosmetics brand Lush released a limited-edition product collection inspired by Nintendo’s intellectual property, including Princess Peach body spray; Mario, Luigi, and Bowser shower gels; Gold Coin soap; and Question Block bath bombs with power-up soaps hidden inside.  

The Lush campaign, “Power-up your bathing”, gave Super Mario Bros. fans the opportunity to liven up their bathtime rituals. The licensing agreement was entered into with Universal Products & Experiences, a division of the company whose mission is to bring Universal’s characters and stories to life in new products and experiences. In a press release posted to the Lush website, Stephanie Kraus, SVP Global Design and Product Development for Universal Products & Experiences, shared their inspiration. “The collection is innovative and iconic with surprise and delight elements inspired by the film, and we can’t wait for the reaction from fans.”

4. Rhode x Krispy Kreme

When Hailey Bieber debuted her iconic “glazed donut nails” at the 2022 Met Gala, they went viral. They were featured everywhere from TikTok videos to Good Morning America, rolling out the red carpet for the June launch of her beauty brand, Rhode. Its flagship product, peptide lip treatment, sold out in just three days and drove Google searches for “lip treatment” to an all-time high, building a waitlist of 440,000 for Rhode. These two facts made the next flavor of her peptide lip treatment a no-brainer. 

In the summer of 2023, Bieber announced her first-ever collaboration with Krispy Kreme donuts to launch her new strawberry glaze peptide lip treatment in tandem with a limited-time Labor Day release of Krispy Kreme Strawberry Glazed Donuts, catapulting the strawberry glaze craze into a franchise and pushing sales of the Rhode lip treatments to over 1 million.

In 2024, Krispy Kreme entered into a new pink-donut collaboration with UK-based fast-fashion retailer PrettyLittleThing as part of a “bigger strategy to invigorate the brand.” In an interview with marketing and media publication The Drum about why Krispy Kreme chose to collaborate with PLT, Emma Colquhoun, Krispy Kreme’s Chief Customer Officer, shared “Krispy Kreme is looking to build and strengthen its brand relevancy with the Gen Z audience.”

5. Twilight x ColourPop Licensing Partnership

The vampire-inspired Twilight x ColourPop makeup collection instantly sold out when it was released in January of 2024, causing ColourPop to limit shoppers to two of each item when they restocked their online store six weeks later. Products inspired by the movie franchise included “Vampire Skin” powder highlighter, blood-red lux lip oil called “Bells,” and eyeliners in hues named “Vampire” and “Coven.”

ColourPop has built a reputation for sellout collaborations, previously launching IP-themed makeup collections that licensed Sanrio’s Hello Kitty, each of Disney’s 12 princesses, and Harry Potter. ColourPop’s Director of Brand Partnerships and Growth shared the brand’s inspiration for their more than 50 collaborations with industry publication License Global. “We continue to see strong demand for licensed consumer products and want to ensure we can accommodate this ask from the community. We’ve had numerous collections sell out in 10 minutes (or less), so we want to ensure we can continue building on this demand.”

Driving Growth with Innovative Partnerships

These types of licensing partnerships offer an avenue for fashion and beauty brands to not only stand out but benefit from the brand equity of what may appear on the surface to be strange bedfellows. By licensing names and likenesses, brands can appeal to otherwise untapped audiences, expanding their market share by offering more creative and unique products and even commanding higher price points. Yet these partnerships can carry rather complex terms, making royalties difficult to track. Software like LicenSee by FADEL and IPM Suite Licensing Edition can streamline the operational side of managing royalty payments and license agreement terms, paving the way for more opportunities for collaboration in the future.

Contact FADEL to learn more about how to unlock brand potential with technology that supports innovative licensing partnerships.