Reebok has had several acclaimed collaborations lately, and the new parent company of the heritage sneaker brand, Authentic Brands Group (ABG), thinks it has a lot to offer.
Reebok’s business is expected to rise more than 20% in 2022, with global retail sales increasing $5 billion – and $10 billion in annual retail sales globally within the next five years. “People say, ‘Oh, you’re going after Adidas’ or ‘You’re going to go after Nike. “We don’t chase Adidas, we don’t chase Nike. We’re building a great brand,”
Since completing the $2.5 billion acquisition in March, ABG has fostered several high-profile partnerships. Most recently, it signed a deal with Macy’s to carry an expanded assortment of Reebok items, and in February, it signed a deal with Foot Locker to carry some Reebok shoes exclusively in its US stores and website. Late last year, ABG announced that it had partnered with JD Group to distribute Reebok across thousands of stores in North America and Europe including JD Sports, Finish Line, DTLR, Shoe Palace, and Size? and Sprinter and SportZone.
From a product perspective, Reebok — formerly owned by Adidas — will focus largely on high-temperature collaborations and pioneering partnerships. Recently, the brand revealed its latest collection with legendary interior design firm Eames Office, a continuation of the atypical partnership that launched in summer 2021. The latest effort included five new editions of Classic Leather, with two eyewear on Reebok.com on June 10. . and three more on June 21.
Looking to the future, ABG is confident that the partnerships and collaborations will cement Reebok’s position in the larger athletic footwear scene. Natasha Fishman, Head of Marketing and Executive Vice President of Marketing at ABG, specifically referred to her long-standing partnership with luxury fashion company New Guards Group, the home of brands including Opening Ceremony, Palm Angels and many others.
“Together with ABG, we are now able to look into the space with a broader eye to pursue both the higher level of fashion partnerships and the unique cultural stories that the market will witness. With our pioneering heritage on the way,” said Todd Krinsky, Senior Vice President and General Manager Product at Reebok. We continue to honor our OGs while bringing Reebok into new spaces and welcoming new consumers into the brand.”
Below, Fishman shares insights with FN on its plans to boost Reebok’s position in the athletic footwear scene.
What is ABG’s vision for Reebok in the streetwear space?
“There is a shift in the approach to streetwear and thinking more from a cultural perspective. Certainly for Reebok, that vision is to hold and grow. Of course we are commercial, looking to build a business, but we want to capitalize on its standing. [in streetwear] To help push the core, to help amplify and grow those other core businesses.”
How are partnerships positioning Reebok in the streetwear space?
This is probably a very simple answer, but it’s working on it. It is about finding and researching relevant partners, and this connection has different attributes. It might be a little funky, but it’s not unconventional for the sake of being unconventional. In the case of Eames, it’s design related. Not only were they galvanized, but modern furniture design can be attributed to Charles and Ray Eames. You see this thread flowing through modern design today: furniture, furnishings, toys. Regarding future partnerships, I would say [Eames] is pioneering in terms of seeking out partners, brands, and collaborators who represent something unique in their own space, and similarly in the way Reebok does.”
Looking to the future, how will Reebok handle partnerships?
“From a business perspective, it’s definitely going to be leveraging collaborations and partnerships to help elevate the brand, to help increase brand relevance. Certainly there’s the commercial element, but… [the creative vision is] Relevancy, it brings something new into the world, brings something that will drive the conversation, help the brand appear in the spaces it doesn’t currently exist and help make it more relevant to the conversations it is already a part of. These icon styles were part of the zeitgeist of the ’90s and still are part of the zeitgeist, collaboration [using them will] Help amplify that and introduce them to the new generations.”
How would you describe Reebok in today’s sneaker scene?
“From a business perspective, there are ways to go. Sure, there are the big first and second places, so there are a lot of growth opportunities. In terms of importance, the same thing. It’s not universally there. And where distribution is the driver, how do we drive it as a company, we think Precisely where we take the brand. I will come back to [New Guards Group] Link. The opportunity is there to drive advancement and partner with an organization that can get you there, and do so with authority. This partnership will be critical to growth, but it will also continue to elevate the brand.”
What about the Reebok position in the athletic footwear world that impressed ABG the most before the acquisition that you don’t want to change?
100% ICON STRATEGY. That was mindless. Using Club C as core, using Classic Leather as core, Nano as core, Float as core, Zig as core. These are the core elements of the font and the way they are interpreted, they are almost endless. In some ways. It was like you didn’t change anything. Don’t change anything when it comes to the design, don’t change the shoes, that’s pure in some ways because it wasn’t there. There are a lot of things you can do with just icons, just from a colorways perspective. There is so much to go, not to mention these amazing collaborations. There is a very unique spirit that belongs to this brand. Don’t change that.”
How would you like to see this situation change or progress?
“We see opportunity in the accompanying categories. I think women’s business development is important in terms of simply expanding our foothold in the active lifestyle as well. There are very well-thought-out parallel paths out there, and there is also an intersection between these two components.”