New York – Rapper M.I.A. has collaborated with Versus Versace on a capsule collection directly inspired by counterfeit versions of Versace products.
The collection features bold, even garish prints with the familiar Versace emblems of the lion’s head and Greek key. While brands continue to crack down aggressively on pirated versions of their products, Versace stands out for celebrating the aesthetics of such goods, and their role in creating a vibrant street fashion culture in much of the developing world.
In her music, M.I.A. often draws inspiration from the politics and economics of developing countries. It made sense for the artist to feature the Versace collection prominently at the launch party for Matangi, her new album, which was held at a warehouse in the creative Brooklyn enclave of Bushwick on 5 November. ‘That has always been part of the M.I.A. culture – to talk about bootlegs, and people that sell them or make them,’ she told Fashionista.
Artists and designers in developed countries are increasingly celebrating fake products as aesthetic statements in their own right. In May 2013, New York’s MoMA PS1 presented the Shanzhai Biennial No. 2, an art exhibit offering a commentary on pirated goods made in China.
For more on why brands are innovating through unexpected collaborations, read our Symbiotic Branding macrotrend.