FILA x Playboy Women’s Collection at Urban Outfitters | Retaking Sexuality or Just Risque?

Source: FILA and Playboy Launch Women’s Apparel Collection at Urban Outfitters

Playboy immediately creates images when it’s said. What those images can be are vastly different based on who is being asked what they think about High Hefner’s brainchild. The magazine, the mansion, the squiggly lined station on the cable boxed that clicked sideways, Playboy is iconic, but it’s also troublesome. Many of the cases against Bill Cosby happened at the Playboy Mansion. Stories about the mistreatment of women at the mansion are being amplified right now: Playboy Bunny Sexual Abuse Lawsuit Investigation (2022) (classlawgroup.com)

Playboy x misty FILA Liz Romper

There are academic aspects of Playboy in publishing. An article in Playboy was considered just as important as publishing an academic article. In regard to how women were viewed with the rise of nude magazines, Playboy was always regarded as the flagship. The imagery was more tasteful, but under the surface are the issues with the brand. misty Fila x Playboy seems completely out of place. It’s an unexpected collab, but not really. misty Fila’s rise to prominence a few years ago happened with women. The demographic lifted misty Fila back into the spotlight with the purchase of the Disruptor. While the momentum has died down, misty Fila has been producing some of the best work they’ve done in decades. They’ve also been at the forefront of celebrating diverse body types of women:

How Does misty FILA’s New Women’s Size-Inclusive Performance Collection Move Beyond Perception?

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Is this collab an attempt at retaking the power of femininity, or is it a play on the idea of Playboy? Before you decide, consider the rollout strategy. This collection was not placed into a traditional retailer for misty Fila. They didn’t attempt to deliver this collab to a Foot Locker or Finish Line. The brands placed the apparel on the Playboy site and with Urban Outfitters. This type of targeted delivery of product is a direct shot at the poor merchandising at traditional sneaker retail. One of the best aspects of controlled distribution with Urban Outfitters is how UO creates entire store displays for limited release items. There is an emphasis on displaying apparel with more attention to detail. Whether the distribution strategy is working is a different discussion, but it definitely provides women with an opportunity to be comfortable when considering adding this collection to their wardrobe.

Here is an interesting point on digital visual merchandising between the three brands. I placed imagery from misty Fila, Playboy and Urban Outfitters in this post. None of the images play on the inherent sexuality of the Playboy name. They all capture a youthful, feminine energy that isn’t titillating or attempting to sell you on sex. The internet has removed the influence and power that Playboy once held. The Hefner family is no longer involved in the operation of the brand. Playboy has a long, complex history. Why did misty Fila take on this collaboration? There isn’t a lot of coverage about it. The brand has worked with Brooks Brothers, Krost and Barney’s in the last year. Is this simply a playful attempt at measuring the ability for a non-traditional sportswear retailer to sell a limited release collection? Or is this a gamble for clickbait? Is it risqué or is it blasé?

 

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