Vanessa hudgens Disney who what wear Minnie Mouse anniversary

It’s the time of year for Disney to make big use of Minnie Mouse, and it’s doing so this time with an aim at Millennials and Gen Z through a co-branded media push with Who What Wear.

As it’s the character’s 91st birthday, having appeared in 1928 for the first time in Walt Disney’s “Steamboat Willie” short, Disney is releasing new Minnie-themed products with license partners like Kate Spade, Uniqlo and Zara, which will be worked into all of the content for a special holiday edition of digital site Who What Wear.

“Aligning with a digital fashion site and recognizing the multigenerational affinity and love there is for Minnie, it felt natural, she’s a pop culture muse,” said Josh Silverman, Disney’s executive vice president of global licensing. “For us, everything really starts with our fans and we’re looking for a way to connect fans with products they love and this is partnership is an effort to do that.”

With this partnership, specifically, Disney is looking to get in front of a young adult consumer, and with Who What Wear’s audience of almost entirely Millennial women and a growing Gen Z demographic, along with the site’s focus on shopping, the tie-up makes sense.

To ensure those the demos are reached, the holiday issue features a main editorial feature with Vanessa Hudgens, who started her career in Disney’s “High School Musical,” another interview and shoot with popular makeup artist Patrick Ta and dancer/influencer Charlize Glass.   

The holiday issue of Who What Wear is a fully co-branded product and Disney had a say on the look and the people involved, but Shayna Kossove, the site’s senior vice president of media revenue, said all of the final choices were led by editorial, not simply product placement.

“We know a majority of our visitors come for style inspiration, so Disney being able to be alongside all these other brands from high to low and lifestyle products, they trusted us to integrate them with other brands,” Kossove said. “It’s all about authenticity. We always like to tell our clients they have to let our editors curate the picks, that’s why our audience comes back and continues to grow.”

The result is a fully shoppable digital issue with Disney’s various Minnie Mouse products worked in throughout, including in the editorial imagery, like Hudgens dressed in a dark, Minnie-type look with a polka-dot jacket and short pleated skirt, and Ta in bold makeup looks.

“It’s exciting for us as a case study since it’s an unexpected brand for us to partner with and in a high fashion moment,” Kossove added. “The result is also unexpected, but not cheesy.”

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