As anticipated ‘collab drops’ fill Instagram feeds and editorial pages. Have you ever wondered about the teams behind brand collaborations? What makes a successful collaboration? Here’s what we learned about collaboration when we sat down with members of Reebok’s Fashion and Streetwear teams:

Black model wearing VB x Reebok cropped yellow hoodie from streetwear collection, Victoria Beckham, Reebok, collaboration, fashion
Some of Reebok’s most hyped product from the last few years are the result of the Reebok x Victoria Beckham collaboration.
Black model wearing VB x Reebok red puffer jacket and skirt from streetwear collection, Victoria Beckham, Reebok, collaboration, fashion
The collection reflects Victoria's vision of style, love of sportswear, and many hours spent in the gym.
Black model wearing VB x Reebok red outfit from streetwear collection, Victoria Beckham, Reebok, collaboration, fashion
The collection includes high-performance pieces that go from the gym to the street to the school run – and beyond.
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Trust is the key to any relationship

Reebok employees from the fashion collaborations team, Erica Tappin, Pamela Senese-Cooke, teamwork, team, collaboration
Erica Tappin and Pamela Senese-Cooke from the Reebok fashion team. They say trust has been the key to the success of the Victoria Beckham partnership.

The team behind the Reebok X Victoria Beckham brand collaboration emphasized trust and diplomacy as the foundation to its success. Reebok lead, Erica Tappin, underscored successful team dynamics rely on building trust beyond titles, “each team member can rely upon one another.” This trust extends to the partner.

The team’s development lead, Pamela Senese-Cooke adds, “it’s crucial to be diplomatic, while understanding the needs and constraints of the partner and Reebok, managing the outcomes, logistics, and always respecting the input. We built trust through confidence. We have confidence in range design, technical innovations, and the product creation. Marry this with Victoria’s creative direction and design teams, together we expedited the relationship building part and got to a place of a shared creation quicker and easier – with amazing results.”

Diplomacy is activated through the trust you build. “Fashion and sportswear creation are different processes, in order to maintain an effective working relationship, we communicate consistently, and inherently value our different experiences and points of view.”

Collaboration drives results

Reebok x Braindead sneakers on a stone in front of ancient mural, collaboration, teamwork, fashion, streetwear, partnership
Shoes from the Braindead | Reebok collection, which sold out in minutes.
Reebok x Braindead Beatnik sandals on a stone in front of ancient mural, collaboration, teamwork, fashion, streetwear, partnership
Collaborating on the classic Beatnik sandal.
Reebok x Braindead Classic Leather sneakers, collaboration, teamwork, fashion, streetwear, partnership
The iconic Classic Leather sneaker has never been more eccentric, with the court silhouette remixed and reworked in premium suede and leather in earth tones.
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The Reebok Streetwear team’s cultural fluency comes from a deep sense of inclusion, the valuation of diverse perspectives, authenticity in partnership and storytelling, as well as their ferocious work ethic.

The team’s lead, Carmen Hardaway, is a mindful leader. She holds space for a diverse roster of talent, who throughout our conversation voiced their sense of value and inclusion. James Chan, the team’s storyteller asserted, “we’re a group of self-aware individuals whose diversity complements each other.” This dynamic means more energy can be expended on the work, the partnerships, and their desired outcomes, and less energy is spent on clarifying among the internal team.

As a result of this candid, complementary culture, the team’s past 18 months have afforded them the opportunity to work with up-and-coming visionary talents and produce sought-after products so desired by the market they often sell out in minutes. JJJJound is an exceptional example of one of their visionary partners.

Reebok employees from the fashion collaborations team, James Chan, Carmen Hardaway, Leo Gamboa, teamwork, team, collaboration
James Chan, Carmen Hardaway, and Leo Gamboa, some of the Reebok Streetwear team. They say their inclusive team values allow them more energy to focus on creativity.

The team upholds authenticity as a benchmark for streetwear partners and collaborators. Leo Gamboa, product lead, emphasized its importance, especially during a time when so many consumers are experiencing hype fatigue.

In describing his approach to a partner like JJJJound, he said, “three years ago when we first started talking about JJJJound, few colleagues at HQ were versed. Now, we can look at how they’ve grown and how we’ve grown as a result, and we can see the relevance and the strength in the partnership. If a partnership doesn’t make sense, we won’t work on it.”

“There’s no better example of this authenticity than through our storytelling,” Chan remarked, “when a brand is relatively new to consumers and has a unique story to tell, managing a product story that relates to their memory of Reebok while maintaining the partnership’s vision is essential.”

Poster of JJJJound and Reebok fashion collaboration, teamwork, partnership, sneakers, streetwear
The success of the JJJJound | Reebok collaboration was grown slowly. The secret was playing to the consumers memory of Reebok, whilst maintaining the vision of the partner designer.
JJJJound and Reebok fashion collaboration, teamwork, partnership, sneakers, streetwear
A collaborative design studio, JJJJound works with artists to craft purposeful products that are made to last.
JJJJound and Reebok fashion collaboration, teamwork, partnership, sneakers, streetwear
A fresh take on a classic.
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In the case of JJJJound, their established aesthetic and organic approach to the creative process, led to the natural flow of ideas between teams which led to some amazing results, with both brands shining through.

Effort can be underrated when a team is so passionate, but it’s that tenacity, their ‘above and beyond’ commitment, and their collaborative approach to excellence that is most evident by their partnership and their outcomes.

What do you think is the secret to a good collaboration? Tell us below.

4 COMMENTS

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by Kathleen casey 04.02.2021
Trust is essential for non threatening collaboration in a group setting.
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by Richard Lindsey 05.02.2021
Of course trust is very essential.
But the way Erin cover the topic professionally.
Reply
by Gemina 09.02.2021
I think conflict and compromise are good secrets to collaboration. Conflict is sometimes a good thing, because genuis ideas may be a direct result. This, in turn, may lead to compromising to bring the best product forward.
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by Erin Narloch Gemina 09.02.2021
Gemina, yes - "conflict and compromise" are so important! Especially when conflict is unpacked with situational evidence, the removal of emotions, and the affirmation that the outcome should be positive!
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