Source : https://www.esquire.com
“The borders between lifestyle and active sportswear are disappearing,” says Jan Becker, CEO of Porsche Design. And it’s that blurring of the lines—between what we wear to work and what we wear to work out—that’s at the heart of the brand’s new collaboration with Puma, a collection of 24/7-style items built to move with the wearer no matter what’s he’s doing.
“If I go to the office, nobody wears a tie anymore,” Becker continues, noting that the current way of looking at building a wardrobe is “all mashed up.” And for a lot of us, no matter the age, this rings true. But it doesn’t take a professional trend forecaster to recognize that it rings even truer for a younger generation that’s grown up in a world where the old strictures of dressing seem increasingly outmoded. A generation that, as it happens, might not be as likely to have the means to buy into a brand that shares DNA with cars that aren’t exactly attainable on an entry-level budget.
That’s where the second part of this collaboration comes into play. “Puma is bringing something to us that maybe our brand is not so known for, and that’s the youthful, joyful, sort of aspect of a sports brand that is catering to a younger generation,” says Roland Heiler, CDO of Porsche Design. “Puma was bringing the right ingredients to the table and for the level of sportswear that we were going to be creating together, and Porsche Design brought the quality aspects and design DNA that is necessary to make something a more premium product.”
Puma, for its part, was happy for the shot at a collaboration. “When Porsche is knocking on the door, it would be wrong not to talk,” says Puma CEO Bjørn Gulden. So when Becker and his team reached out, discussions moved along swiftly. All told, it took about 18 months from initial contact to the unveiling on the first collaborative collection—a remarkably short turnaround considering the size of the companies at play.
Puma’s global creative director, Torsten Hochstetter, puts that speedy rollout down to a simple alignment of, if not aesthetics, then ethos. “The values are so close: brave, confident, determined, joyful, all of that,” he says. So while collaborations always require calibration (and recalibration) from both sides, “when we came together, we all more or less sort of picked the best out of both worlds, and then met right there in the middle.”
That means elements like Puma’s proprietary technologies, from cushioning technologies like NRGY beads in footwear to the brand’s signature EvoKnit textile on standout pieces like an asymmetrical-zip hoodie finished with fully taped seams. Porsche Design, for its part, brings in the sort of restrained aesthetic that isn’t always present in the bright, bold world of sportswear.
“Our customer, the Porsche Design customer, is a guy who likes to purchase products that he can keep for a while,” says Heiler. “They have to be relevant now, but if he pulls out that jacket a year from now, it’s still very cool. And the less design—as funny as that sounds—but the less design you apply to a product like that, the less in-your-face the design is, the more likely it is that it’s actually going to have a longer life.”
And while the pieces in this initial offering are indeed designed to last for a while, that doesn’t mean customers won’t have a chance to re-up. Becker and Gulden were both emphatic about the fact that this isn’t a one-off situation. Becker described it as a “long-term partnership,” while Gulden called the collaboration a “partnership on a much higher level.” Either way, the takeaway is clear: We can expect a lot more from Porsche Design and Puma in the future.
Hochstetter points to a bag in the first collection—a hybrid gym bag and backpack—as a perfect example of what we can all expect as the collaborative effort continues. “There’s a lot of multifunction in there,” he explains, pointing to elements like stowable straps and a paneled top that doubles as padding when worn on the back. “Those are things that we kind of evaluate with the design teams collaborating. There’s really new ideas coming out in all the disciplines—footwear, apparel, and accessories.”
Those new ideas will draw from a number of different wells, both aesthetic and functional. In fact, both Gulden and Becker point to upcoming collections as a potential lauch pad for newly developed technology from Puma, filtered through the Porsche Design Lens. Ultimately, says Becker, “it’s two strong brands, with Porsche Design and Puma, and we think we have come up with a collection that is feeding a lot of needs. And now we will see how [the customers] will adapt the whole thing.”