Celebrating 50 years of spreading feel-good news, The Smiley Company is releasing a milestone collection inspired by its more than 400 global collaborations and the cultural influence that the smiley has become.
Getting its start as a traditional licensing brand in 1972, Nicolas Loufrani, chief executive officer of The Smiley Company, told WWD a collaboration collection is a perfect way to pay homage, believing that “the notion of aligning Smiley with partners who shared our mission in spreading positivity through product campaigns was key when growing Smiley into what it is today.”
“After the challenging last couple of years, what better way to navigate out of these times with this campaign that aims to reverse a global smile deficit, spread positivity and fill the world with smiles in 2022,” Loufrani said. “This campaign has proved that Smiley’s unique, creative and positive symbolism continues to inspire some of the most influential artists, brands and tastemakers across the globe.”
The company has always viewed collaborations as “an opportunity to spread an important message,” with like-minded, creative, caring and innovative brands.
Over the years, The Smiley Company has had more than 400 global partners — including Talking Heads, Nirvana, Acid House, DC Comics as well as fashion, design and beauty partners like Sandro, Karl Lagerfeld, Reebok and Dsquared2.
With each collaboration, Smiley’s message and founding mantra to “take the time to smile” was adapted with exclusive concepts to remain fresh and relevant. In a statement, the company notes, “ambitious, authentic and forward-thinking brand partners harness the power of the smile to lead the world toward a future we all want to be a part of; a defiantly optimistic one.”
To harness these ideas for its 50th Anniversary Collector’s Edition collection, the company has partnered with André Saraiva, renowned graffiti artist known for his work in the early Parisian graffiti movement, his cartoonish characters and alter ego Mr. A, and Sarah Andelman, cofounder of the Parisian concept store Colette.
For the collection, Saraiva has reimagined the iconic Smiley logo. When approaching the Smiley logo, Saraiva said he wanted to “capture the essence of boundless positivity at the core of the Smiley brand.” The final design was created as original works of art in his Paris studio and merges the Smiley face with Mr. A. The unique design sends a positive message, which Saraiva said, is “particularly resonant following a time of unprecedented change.”
Andelman has also lent her expertise to the collection, curating more than 50 partnerships across 12 product categories. The categories include fashion, design, beauty and FMCG collaborations.
For the collection, each participating brand was asked to design a unique iteration of its iconic products using a style guide created from Saraiva’s artworks.
“We are extremely honored to feature products from the world’s most renowned designers and the coolest sport and street brands including Dsquared, Carolina Herrera, Alice + Olivia, Moschino, Michael Kors, Champion, Reebok, Eastpak and more,” Loufrani said. “The collection not only pays homage to all of the artists that have spread positivity over the past 50 years but sets the stage for how Smiley will continue to innovate over the next 50 years and beyond.”
While each designer has been given the style guide and reimagined logo, they will all contribute a bit of their own brand as well.
Luc Lesénécal, CEO of Saint James, told WWD, “When designing our piece for the Collector’s Edition, we wanted to use our timeless ‘marinière,’ our white and navy striped T-shirt as a canvas for another timeless icon — the smiley. Since 1889, Saint James has always valued simplicity so when reimagining this piece for the 50th anniversary of Smiley, we wanted our shirt to be effortless and simple so that the real message could shine through: taking the time to smile.”
For Reebok’s collaboration, Nate Chang, footwear designer for Reebok, told WWD, “In 2022, Reebok and Smiley are debuting a footwear and apparel collaboration to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Smiley logo. The collection features some of Reebok’s most iconic footwear silhouettes and takes inspiration from Smiley’s 50 years of heritage. Each of the shoes features hidden easter eggs that encourage you to find happiness in the details and revolve around bright colors that promote happiness, which is what Smiley is all about. Images and more details on the collection will be available closer to launch.”
Notably, not all items in the collection are apparel and accessories.
Alex Assouline, chief operating officer brand and strategy for Assouline, told WWD, “To celebrate 50 years of spreading smiles and positivity throughout the world, we created this book to capture the true power of a smile. A smile is something that is universal and unifying — and this title chronicles how this powerful symbol has influenced pop culture, music, fashion, art, graphic design, film and so much more.”
The Collector’s Edition collection will be available on designers’ retail sites starting on Feb. 22 and pieces of the collection will also be available in select Nordstrom stores and on nordstrom.com starting March 4.
“Smiley takeovers” will also take place in department stores and retail chains including all Galeries Lafayette stores globally, Nordstrom Special Project stores in the U.S. and Urban Outfitters in Europe.
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