Puma’s latest ad campaign has taken American cities by storm. The eye-catching posters on Subways and streets feature celebrity endorsements from Kylie Jenner and Rae Sremmurd. They play off the early days of hip-hop, paying homage to the fashion of decades past with tracksuits, chains, and the always-stylish Puma Suede sneaker. These partnerships, though, are just one branch of Puma’s larger campaign to fortify and diversify its image.
Now that the commotion over those ubiquitous ads has died down a bit, Puma has continued expanding its star-studded lineup by taking on Abel Tesfaye, better known as The Weeknd, as a creative collaborator. The Grammy-winning musician is now the ambassador for Puma’s upcoming “Run The Streets” campaign, which launches in November and will highlight Puma’s ability to balance performance and quality with youth-approved style.
Even more exciting, as a creative collaborator, Tesfaye will be designing a line of footwear and apparel to be released in 2017. Though he has his own line, XO Clothing, its offerings have so far felt like a mix between tour merchandise and unoriginal graphic tees. With this collection, Tesfaye has an unfathomable amount of money, resources, and professional opinion to tap into, courtesy of Puma’s status as a multi-billion dollar company, as well as the brand’s history and technology to draw upon.
Puma seems to be making a move towards not only partnering with more musicians, but also giving them plenty of creative agency. That model seems to be working out very well for them. Earlier this year, Rihanna released her debut FENTY PUMA collection to widespread praise. Many pieces in the collection, like the incredibly popular creeper sneakers, sold out in popular colors and sizes extremely quickly after the release.
The Weeknd’s collection could be just as phenomenal, but fans will have to wait until next year to see what The Weeknd is cooking up for this collaboration. Judging from his personal style from the past few years, a collection with traditional streetwear and sportswear pieces might be expected. He has been seen in the past sporting staples of looks popular in the early 2010s, like loud sneakers, and stadium jackets.
Tesfaye, though, is undergoing a quite radical rebranding as evidenced by the loss of his signature dreads. The first promotional image promises something that fits his dark, brooding music with its achromatic palette and understated detailing and stitching. It is relatively subtle compared to his louder and more incongruous collaboration with Alexander Wang from last year, but still displays some serious attitude. Finished with the yet unreleased Puma IGNITE EvoKNIT, the whole outfit is a hopeful representation of what is to come, combining fashion and function with the artist’s own aesthetic.
Have you seen The Weeknd’s other collaborations and lines? What did you think? Let’s hear it here or on Twitter @BillChangNY