Hold the fries, let’s have some fashion.
The little-known Finnish streetwear brand Vain is getting some major league attention, thanks to an unusual tie-up with Mcdonalds. Instead of teaming up for a collaboration like the sellout one with Travis Scott, McDonald’s tapped the 18-month-old company to develop a compact collection made from old McDonald’s uniforms that were offered solely to select McDonald’s Finland employees.
The partnership unfolded after Finnish rap artist Cledos, who curated a meal for McDonald’s last fall in Finland, was seen with Vain apparel in the background of a campaign. The fast-food chain’s creative team later floated the idea of working together by Vain’s creative director Jimi Vain Särmö and his team, a spokesperson for McDonald’s Finland said. “We were immediately stunned by their love for the brand, when we went further with the discussions with them. It was clear that we had a perfect brand fit for unexpected collaboration,” the McDonald’s Finland spokesperson said.
A gingham dress, leather-looking zip-front jacket, slouchy pants, logo hoodie and other styles make up the 30-piece collection, which debuted in June with a runway show. The assortment is the first fully sustainable one produced by the brand.
Interest in vain has ramped up, as recent CNN coverage has given the company global exposure. In an interview Tuesday, Vain chief executive officer Roope Reinola said, “If we were selling these products that are trending right now, it would be super crazy.”
Nevertheless, Vain has seen “huge growth” on its social media channels and via its online store. In the past few days, daily site traffic has spiked to 150,000 compared to a few thousand, as was typical before. In addition, the upswing in social media followers is boosting e-commerce sales and influencers and members of the media are now more willing to post about Vain, the CEO said.
Reinola is banking on seeing greater sales results when Vain unveils its fall collection in January at Pitti Uomo in Italy. “That will be a much bigger collection and presentation because of the attention that we have gotten from this project,” he said.
Vain was banking on a lot of social media traction for the collaboration since McDonald’s is such a huge brand, Reinola said. “But of course, we were surprised that it turned out this great. Always there is a little bit of luck required. There weren’t a lot of big [streetwear] project launches this week so there was a lot of room for us to gain exposure.”
With online sales accounting for 90 to 95 percent of Vain’s annual volume, the company plans to bolster its wholesale distribution through central European retailers. The aim is to start wholesaling in the U.S. later next year. New hires will be added to Vain’s nine-person team with sales, marketing and social media being key areas of focus.
Interestingly, McDonald’s Finland workers that scored the Vain apparel are not supposed to wear the styles as uniforms, but “just for fun,” Reinola said. Rather than set out to generate direct sales, McDonald’s Finland’s objective was and continues to be “to build trust and make McDonald’s a more interesting employer and brand among young people,” the spokesperson said. “The metrics and goals for it are in the brand’s attributes.”
The fast-food giant’s consumer-driven collaborations have included Cactus Plant Flea Market, Eric Emanuel and other brands for special promotions. The demand is apparent, given that a set of four-eyed plastic Cactus Plant Flea Market figurines were offered for resale on eBay for a whopping $300,000.