All collaborations go through the meticulous hands of Baber Ebbinge, Leads Specials Designer, and Nienke van Oeveren-Bolger, Portfolio Manager Specials, before the world even gets a first glimpse. It's not hard to see that the dynamic duo have fun realising each collaboration, including the latest one with Diesel they enthusiastically rave to us about.
Through this highly anticipated and rather unexpected Diesel collaboration, how do you think the brand's personality and outlook fits in with Bugaboo?
Nienke: We're not specifically the same, but we have similar areas we feel strongly about. Diesel is very authentic, their military and rock aesthetic is in their blood, and it's something we really appreciate. We both love dealing with stuff that's fun and unexpected, and it's always about innovation. Of course there's a sense of rebelliousness with Diesel, and at Bugaboo we work like that too.
Give us a peek into the collaboration process with Diesel. What were some challenges and highlights both parties encountered when it came to product conceptualisation and development?
Barber: What was most important for us, was that both sides were happy with the final design, because that's the essence of a collaboration. We want to do things together rather than just have both logos on it. We want to learn from each other and share knowledge.
Rock elements and baby products don't typically go hand in hand so there were definitely a few challenges, specifically with the studs. Studs have sharp edges so they're not the best fit for kids. We had to conduct strict pulling tests to make sure they're really able to stay in place. It took almost two years before we were satisfied enough to release the product into the market, but in the end both parties were extremely happy with it.
Can you explain to us in detail the finished Bugaboo and Diesel product? What are the main design and performance highlights that people should get excited for?
N: The product targets parents who want to go out for coffee or to a festival, while bringing their child along in a cool way. At first we placed studs everywhere, but were afraid it might scratch or dent the frame. So we reduced them, deciding to partially stud the sun canopy. We also did a tattoo on the back of the stroller and it's laser engraved for durability. Even the material which cocoons the baby has detailing that makes it look like a leather jacket. Besides focusing on rock, there's also a bit of humour put into the product since it's for kids and their parents who want to express an identity.
Bugaboo has done multiple collaborations so far, some with huge names in the industry. How did it all start?
N: Five years after Bugaboo entered the market, we teamed up with the Fashion Foundation. We wanted to select an upcoming designer and it ended up being Bas Kosters, who had just graduated from fashion school. During the collaboration we gave him our stroller and told him "here it is, you can do anything you want with it". When he said he wanted it to be entirely white, which is a first for Bugaboo, we agreed. He is now like a friend of the brand and still does small collaborations with us.
The partnership with Bas paved the way for many such collaborations between Bugaboo and fashion designers and artists. Shortly after, we met the people of Paul Frank coincidentally, and ended up doing a collaboration. Marc Jacobs also requested to work with us and we were shocked when that happened. Of course we immediately said yes and the stroller ended up being sold exclusively in Marc Jacobs stores.
After years of iconic collaborations, which ones do you think the public enjoyed most?
B: One of our most iconic collaborations so far has been with Missoni, probably because the collaboration made a Missoni product affordable even though it's such an exclusive brand. Since they're known for their knitwear, we even made a baby blanket and combined it with the collaboration stroller.
The most extreme stroller we've done, with the Andy Warhol banana from the Velvet Underground LP, had such an over-the-top design because we wanted to surprise people again. At first we thought it might have been too much, but the stores were pretty happy with it. It says a lot about our company, about how we'll do things whether or not people are going to love it, even if it's a little rebellious. We always believe in being bold and brave. The stroller was sold out in weeks so I think people really appreciated it.