Crocs, the iconic clog footwear, has transformed from utility to ubiquity, becoming a worldwide fashion sensation. The brand sold 115.6 million pairs of Crocs shoes in 2022, the equivalent of nearly four pairs per second.
Over the years, Crocs has stepped it up from a comfortable choice for many to a canvas for creativity and collaborations. From the unexpected partnership with McDonald’s to luxury collaborations with Burberry and Balenciaga to the whimsical Lightning McQueen Crocs, the brand has ventured into new territories, further accelerating its reach.
Daniel Barker, Senior Buyer at schuh commented: “Since the brand’s inception 21 years ago, it was evident that Crocs will become the legendary footwear for people of all walks of life, and their diverse collaborations with artists and brands are a testament to that. From women’s designs and men’s styles to kids’ Crocs, the brand serves all tastes and comfort levels.”
In this article, we delve into the past collaborations that brought a fresh and playful twist to Crocs, utilising the power of AI to predict what future Crocs collaborations with big brands might look like.
A stroll through Crocs history
Crocs first appeared on the shoe scene in 2002, debuting with their iconic design and innovative material, Croslite, which delivers unparalleled comfort. They were originally designed to be boating shoes, and the first model, the Beach, made its appearance at the 2002 Fort Lauderdale Boat Show in Florida.
The company quickly gained popularity, but despite the initial surge and going public in 2006, it slipped during the recession and temporarily discontinued clogs.
In 2014, under the leadership of Andrew Rees, who became President and CEO in 2017, Crocs reintroduced clogs to the market. Since 2018, the company has experienced five consecutive years of double-digit revenue growth. The 2022 annual report indicates record revenues of $3.6 billion, a remarkable 53.7% increase over 2021.
Crocs’ journey includes a pivotal 2005 ad campaign, ‘Ugly Can Be Beautiful,’ which contributed significantly to the brand’s success. Love them or hate them, Crocs have ascended to pop culture royalty, offering a blend of comfort, style, and personalisation options, along with excellent value. The key lies in seamlessly combining these elements, making Crocs suitable for a diverse range of occasions and styles.
Most iconic Crocs collaborations
Collaborations are key for the brand’s success as they drive innovation in new product development. Such collaborations have been a part of the company’s strategy since 2017, featuring renowned pairings with Balenciaga, Chinatown Market, Simone Rocha, Takashi Murakami, Justin Bieber, Bad Bunny, Vivienne Tam, Post Malone, and many others.
Christopher Kane pioneered the luxury brand collaboration with Crocs in 2016, introducing bold interpretations of the classic clog at his London Fashion Week show. His elevated collaboration featured marbled styles adorned with mineral stone charms, setting the stage for subsequent partnerships.
Salehe Bembury, an American shoe designer, earned acclaim for his Crocs Pollex clog, securing a position in the prestigious Lyst Index’s recent top ten luxury reports alongside brands such as Saint Laurent, Prada, and Bottega Veneta. Bembury, similar to other designers, found Crocs’ moulded foam resin to be the ideal medium for bringing his distinctive fingerprint designs to life.
Highlighting the significance of collaborations, CEO Andrew Rees stated, “Collaborations are a key part of our lineup as they allow us to reach new customers who might not otherwise consider our brand.”
Future Crocs collaborations according to AI
Rees also noted that the company has over 60 global brand, celebrity and licensed partnerships in the pipeline, foregrounding that “newness within our core product lines and across our partnerships will continue to play a critical role for our brand” in the future.
So, what would these future collaborations look like? We asked ChatGPT what we could expect to find.
Gucci x Crocs: luxury meets comfort
“For a touch of luxury, an AI-inspired collaboration between Crocs and Gucci envisions clogs adorned with the famous Gucci monogram, embellishments, and premium materials. This fusion of comfort and high-end fashion would redefine casual footwear in a bold and extravagant way.”
LEGO x Crocs: building blocks of comfort
“In a playful twist, AI envisions a collaboration between Crocs and LEGO, two beloved brands that celebrate creativity. Picture Crocs adorned with LEGO brick patterns, customisable accessories, and vibrant colours. This partnership allows wearers to build and modify their footwear, creating a personalised and ever-evolving fashion statement.”
Netflix x Crocs: streaming style on demand
“Entertainment meets fashion in a potential collaboration between Crocs and Netflix. AI mock-ups showcase Crocs inspired by popular Netflix shows, with unique designs that pay homage to fan-favourite series.
From Stranger Things-themed prints to Ozark-inspired colours, this collaboration could turn binge-watching into a stylish affair.”
Apple x Crocs: the tech-infused footwear
“As technology continues to shape our lives, a partnership between Apple and Crocs could result in the ultimate tech-infused footwear. AI-generated images depict Crocs with integrated Apple Watch bands, wireless charging capabilities, and a minimalist design that seamlessly merges fashion and technology.”
Daniel says, “Crocs has created a legacy for themselves. When the world of Crocs meets with AI, only the sky’s the limit to what possible collaborations might emerge. And with the brand’s commitment to innovation, it is evident that imagination runs wild within its creative community.
“In its nature, Crocs is designed as a blank canvas. Whether through brand collaborations or Jibbitz charms, customisation is at the core of the iconic clogs. And with that, the possibilities for future Crocs collaborations are as diverse as the imaginations that fuel them.”