A.P.C.. France, 1987
The Parisian denim label A.P.C. is a restless brand, constantly on the lookout for new ways to imprint its distinctive aesthetic on popular culture.
Besides a reputation for high-grade denim, Jean Touitou’s Atelier de Production et de Creation is admired for its special strain of minimalism: a talent for simplifying and stripping back products to leave them soulful rather than sterile.
A.P.C. is influenced by the worlds of jeans, streetwear and fashion but never clearly identifies with any one genre. It’s this ambiguous positioning that gives A.P.C. a nonchalantly cool brand footprint that aficionados from all three camps find intriguing.
Such a broad, yet exclusive, appeal makes it an interesting proposition for partner brands. Established names from the mainstream actively seek out edgy brands to collaborate with. A.P.C. provides brands like Nike and Eastpak with an ‘alternatively normal’ authenticity and premium fashion profile that neither could achieve on its own.
Collaborations are prominent in A.P.C.’s repertoire and play an important role in fuelling the French label’s reach and affinity. As well as exposing the brand to larger audiences, co-branding activities create platforms that validate and give visibility to its particular style.
At first glance, working with a competing brand like Carhartt appears contradictory, but the popularity of the A.P.C. x Carhartt capsule collections points to a more subtle dynamic. It’s a relationship which casts A.P.C. in the role of creative laboratory: enhancing factory clothing in the way that a custom shop would modify motorbikes. By collaborating with the French label, Carhartt and other partners bolster A.P.C.’s reputation as style savants.
Unlike many denim-flavoured brands, A.P.C. confines most of its co-branding activities to categories it understands well. Instead of styling cars and coffee machines, its collaborations usually feature brands it sees as contemporaries, and focus on products that fit within its own boutiques.
A.P.C. Quilts is an ingenious spin-off project with designer Jessica Ogden, who converts surplus fabrics into limited edition quilts and cushions. Their designs feature in exhibitions, shop displays and trendy residences such as Ace Hotel.
“The ‘Alternatively Normal’ Brand Footprint of A.P.C.” is a post from Collaboration Generation: a series profiling companies who use brand innovation platforms to double down on specialness, and extend their reach and influence.