The deal and inaugural apparel launch collection — celebrated Thursday evening in Hollywood with a guest list that included Sofia Richie, Scott Disick, Katherine McNamara and Madison Beer — makes Asos the festival’s exclusive retail partner. That means it will be the only company working with Life Is Beautiful on apparel for this year’s festival, in addition to multiple activations both on and off the festival grounds.
The event at club No Name on Fairfax Avenue served as the kick-off event to a six-month focus on marketing at festivals in the lead up to Life Is Beautiful, explained Asos communications director Rachel Bremer. The strategy entails sending influencers out wearing Asos to the Governors Ball Music Festival, L.A. Pride Festival, Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival, Pitchfork Music Festival and Afropunk Festival. While the retailer has dabbled in similar tactics in the past, it was never done in as structured a way as this year, Bremer added.
A survey of Life Is Beautiful attendees last year asked respondents if they were familiar with Asos. The group was evenly split between those who were familiar and those were not aware of the brand, giving the retailer plenty of room to access more prospective customers, Bremer said.
Life Is Beautiful executive chairman William Barker said the idea behind the partnership is less about a business strategy and instead said Life Is Beautiful has already seen success historically in selling branded merchandise. He called the new product “mission driven” and yet another way of interacting with the festival’s customer base.
Working with another business alleviates some of the work of mining for transparencies throughout the product development process, shipping and even later marketing of the collections, Barker pointed out. Asos’ design team was also tapped to create trendy looks with this first collection encompassing embroidered sweatshirts, logo T-shirts, bodysuits, tanks, button-down shirts, bralettes, bike shorts and hats. The 30-piece range retails from $18 to $65.
There’s plenty more to come beyond what the market sees this year, including activations both on and off festival grounds, Barker said.
“Whilst the 2019 launch is fantastic, it’s the start of a lot of things that we’re thinking, together, we can do on behalf of both of our customer segments,” he said.
The collection is available through the Life Is Beautiful and Asos online shops with several more releases planned before the September festival, in addition to product exclusives planned for the actual event.
It’s not just one-off concert merchandise, in other words. The market’s more recently seen some artists take greater control of concert merchandise, elevating screenprinted T-shirts into full-on collections with the help of designers, such as Heron Preston with Justin Timberlake or Kanye West. Designs and fabrications are elevated and the merchandising and distribution is increasingly occurring outside of festival grounds or concert halls. Barker said what Life Is Beautiful is doing isn’t exactly motivated by the same thing but there is a similarity in the desire for quality and wanting to be aligned with more thoughtful merchandise than what has historically been offered.
“The idea is for it to be an evergreen, all-year merchandise range,” Barker said.