The Kool-Aid Man is the latest star of streetwear for the fall of 2022.
The famed cartoon character is part of a collab with skate brand DGK. And let’s face it—nothing says 1980s nostalgia quite like the Kool-Aid Man, even though he was created in 1927 by Edwin Perkins for the powder drink, that has always been a favorite to the youth.
With Kool-Aid’s 100 year anniversary coming up, it makes sense they would take on this collaboration, which adds a splash of color to the subdued fall wardrobes. It ‘s also pop art in it’s own right, playful and poignant. The minds behind this brilliant collaboration explain how it came about.
According to Troy Morgan, the DGK co-founder and CEO, it’s part of the brand’s long list of collaborations, which have ranged from collabs with Virgil Abloh to White Castle.
“DGK takes a deep dive into any collaboration partnerships to see if they fit with our mission,” said Morgan. “We refuse to make a product for the sake of just making a product; it needs to have a backstory that connects with our consumer.”
“With Kool-Aid, we appreciated how long they’ve held true to their bond with the youth; always challenging norms and welcoming inclusivity for everyone,” Morgan adds. “That ideology made it a pretty easy fit with DGK, and after a few talks with the team at Kraft, we set out to do something different & compelling together.”
Granted, Kool-Aid is a brand that will never go out of style, but it’s especially cool to the skate scene.
“Kool-Aid stays true to the original script, while evolving from generation to generation,” says Matt Daughters, DGK’s global director of brand marketing.
“The Kool-Aid Man is one of the most recognized characters in the world, a timeless representation of youth,” said Daughters. “With our collaboration, the Kraft team was very trusting when we designed Kool-Aid Man with a gold tooth, slightly altering this 100-year icon to mesh with a diverse & alternative market. That trust resulted in a big connection with the audience which shows the brand is brave enough to fit any generation’s style.”
The Kool-Aid Man represents fun in all forms, too—now, his cool credibility is heightened with a bit of bling and swag. “From our early talks with Kraft-Heinz, they described the Kool-Aid Man as ‘unapologetically fun,’’ which is a sound representation of the emotion you get when thinking of Kool-Aid,” explains Daughters.
“DGK kept that phrase on its mood boards throughout the design process so we would never deviate far off the path. Everyone has a memory of the Kool-Aid man, when taking DGK’s experiences with the brand into account, it was easy to see that fun and happiness was always the anchor for these experiences.”
Among the brand’s best-selling, favorite pieces to the cool kids, the classic “Thirst” jersey is already sold out, while the hoodie and shirts have been “huge for the collection,” said Daughters.
“Seeing Kool-Aid Man’s smile in a different way than it’s been seen before stopped people in their tracks,” he said.
“Beyond those core pieces, the higher tiered items like the Varsity Jacket and all-over embroidered Fleece Kit brought attention to those looking for a social status piece. The quality of the materials and thoughtfulness of the execution brought in some new eyes that might not have considered Kool-Aid as a fashion statement.”
It’s the perfect collaboration for a brand like DGK, according to Stevie Williams, a professional skateboarder who is also the co-founder of DGK.
“Mutual interest and understanding between DGK & Kool-Aid made it a cohesive mix, and I believe that was translated through to the product,” explains Williams.
“We aimed to do something for the people who grew up with both of our brands and wanted to pass on the same feelings to their children. Our brands always were inspired by youth and those intentions translated seamlessly with what we brought to the market.”
Get the looks here on the DGK website.