What do an Italian luxury fashion house and the next moon landing have in common? And why could this be the most genius crossover of the 2020s? Those who are up-to-date with fashion news will be aware of Prada’s collaboration with Axiom Space. This came as a shock to many, as no human has stepped foot on the moon since the 1972 Apollo 17 mission, but Axiom feels confident that several astronauts can be sent to the moon in 2025, one of which, Artemis 3, will be dressed in suits designed by fashion giant Prada. While it may seem obscure, perhaps even silly, it starts to make a lot of sense when you delve deeper into the marketing and logic behind such a collaboration.
The obvious reasoning behind this unlikely partnership is publicity. The improbability of it draws significant attention to the project. Where there is attention, there will be money. Advertisers are more likely to invest when they can be sure there will be many eyes on the project. News articles about the collaboration ensure the relevance of Prada and Axiom in the mainstream. Furthermore, the private space company and the luxury designer have very different audiences. Their consumers may however have similar characteristics and spending habits and could thus bring a new audience for each of the companies. Both Prada customers and space travel investors have money to spare and may be inspired by seeing a company they support collaborating with the other, creating a sense of loyalty. If an investor was thinking of buying a new designer bag, they may now opt for Prada over Gucci or Louis Vuitton, and likewise, if a luxury fashion admirer was looking for a new investment opportunity, they would be more likely to at least research Axiom whose existence they may not even have known about before. Though the markets are entirely unrelated, their audiences may share similar characteristics creating an opportunity to overlap the two.
So why, out of all luxury fashion houses, is Prada specifically the perfect option for this collaboration? The Italian designer brand is known for its black and silver aesthetic. This clean, dark look with the contrast of polished silver accents can easily be connected to space and the moon. Prada already has a futuristic look that can be transposed to space travel. As this collaboration is aesthetically in line with Prada’s designs, it makes much more sense than a more classic designer, such as say, Chanel, with their pearls and soft textures.
Prada produces a ‘moon boot’, which is not unique to them, but again connects the fashion house to the theme. The moon boot, an extremely warm, thick and weather-resistant boot, was especially popular in the earlier 2000s but is still on the market. Perhaps this was the original gateway to bring together fashion and a moon landing. The moon boot itself has fallen slightly off the map in the 2020s and has been replaced by a more modern alternative: the chunky ankle boot. Thick soles, a platform or a heel, that make your feet look multiple sizes larger, have been one of Prada’s most notable mainstream pieces in recent years. This is reminiscent of the original moon boot in its purpose to accentuate a bulky shoe as a key component of one’s look. The connections between Prada and the astronaut aesthetic seem to have always been there.
Collaboration between companies is no rarity, and Prada is no stranger to this either, but they have never stepped outside their own market like this before. Previously the designer brand has collaborated with Adidas, Raf Simons, Cass and Christophe Chemin, all of which are in the fashion industry in one way or another. Ralph Lauren, a similarly operating designer giant, has collaborated with Fortnite. Further examples include Palace with McDonald’s and Supreme with Shrek. While these collaborations may at first seem as obscure as Prada x Axiom, they can all be explained by pop culture crazes.
There have, however, been a few individual projects where fashion and technology crossed roads before. In 2019, Zendaya graced the Met Gala red carpet in a light-up Cinderella dress by Tommy Hilfiger. Her stylist, the iconic, now retired, Law Roche, waved a stick and Zendaya’s dress lit up from the inside. Coperni similarly stunned the whole world during their Spring/Summer 2023 runway show in Paris, when Bella Hadid had a dress sprayed onto her body. The technology behind what looked like spray tan guns that literally sprayed a dress onto Hadid’s naked body is an invention never before seen in the fashion world.
As technology has started bleeding into fashion, a big scientific collaboration is a logical next step for the industry. Prada is the ideal contender through their ethos and brand identity. Being committed to sending the first woman and person of colour to the moon, Axiom is able to connect and widen its audience through this collaboration. Though initially eyebrows may have been raised, the match has been thoroughly considered and appears to be a genius development for the business. The lead-up to the reveal of the design is an opportunity for the companies to create excitement for the Artemis missions much before the countdown of the rockets.