Nike x Tiffany & Co.: Just do it or don’t do it?


Quoc Huy Ngo, Staff Writer

Erie, Pa, February 8, 2023 — The recent collaboration between Nike and the American jeweler Tiffany & Co. proves that fashion collaboration is not always exciting.

On Sunday, an advertisement took over a full-page print of The New York Times, featuring a Nike shoe box in Tiffany’s signature robin’s-egg blue with the logos of two brands and the line: “A Legendary Pair.” The next morning, the “leaked” image of the sneakers was spread rapidly among social media platforms, stirring up the fashion community. While some believed this partnership is needed to shake up the dreary sneakers market, others just thought the shoes did not live up to the “legendary” label touted in the ads.

First introduced in 1953, the classic Nike Air Force 1s (AF1) will get the Tiffany treatment with the Nike swoosh rendered in the brand’s iconic blue, crafted in black suede and finished with co-branded silver details on the heel. While some sneakerheads refer to these as premium upgrades, others see the pair as nothing but a cash grab.

“The box is more appealing than the shoes,” said one top commenter on Tiffany’s Instagram. “I expected so much more than this. This is a no. Take it back to the studio”.

On the 124K followers Instagram account of fashion influencer @ideservecouture, the critics were even less restrained. “The lack of effort that went into designing these sneakers should be studied by all universities,” @ideservecouture states in their post.

Nike has never been a stranger to the high fashion world. The sportswear giant has teamed up with some of the biggest luxury houses. From the recent collaboration with Jacquemus to Off-white and Sacai, designers around the globe have reimagined some of Nike’s iconic models.

A collaboration between streetwear and luxury fashion brands is a familiar marketing strategy. Partnerships have helped conglomerates like Kering (with Gucci x Adidas) or LVMH (with Nike x Tiffany in this case) successfully tap into the younger generation of shoppers. Nevertheless, analysts explain the essential key to those successes is the mutual influence and respect of the creative board for youth culture.

“While the ads were clever, the product itself was a misfire. To say it lacked imagination would be an understatement,” said Christopher Morency, the chief brand officer of Vanguards and the former editorial director of Highsnobiety. “What’s more, the choice of the color seemed to reflect an executive team unaware of the memes surrounding Nike’s black Air Force 1s, which are widely spoofed as linked to untrustworthy types.”

Ultimately, the marketing heft behind the roll-out will power results and the shoes will no doubt sell out with skyrocketing prices on the resale market. “At least Nike and Tiffany are getting a lot of press for this bad collaboration,” Morency said.

Love it or hate it, Tiffany and Nike have walked away the winner of this month’s attention contest. While the online rumblings suggest that this marketing strategy will, predictively, result in huge financial success, its launch on March 7 could also put the last cross on the hype culture.