McDonald’s boasts a long history of collaborations with fashion, dating back to the 1970s with a collection of children’s clothing. We all remember the themed costume designed by Jean Paul Gaultier in 1997 for the futuristic fast-food scene in The Fifth Element, as well as Kate Moss in Tom Sachs’ 2003 W magazine video preparing hamburgers in the classic uniform.
The first true collection inspired by the brand, although theoretically unbeknownst to McDonald’s, was developed in 2014 for Moschino by the then-creative director, Jeremy Scott, who recently resigned. Scott was a staunch advocate of pop culture and the multiple semiotic meanings it carries. At the time, Scott's act of rebellion involved modifying the McDonald’s logo without permission hybridizing with the classic heart of the Italian fashion house. After the first runway show of the collection, McDonald’s granted Moschino permission to use some of its graphics in exchange for a donation to the Ronald McDonald House Charities.
Morgan Flatley, the current global chief marketing officer and head of new business ventures at McDonald’s, is convinced that Scott's collection brought a new wave of creativity, joy, and a willingness to take risks to the fast-food chain’s forefront. Subsequent collaborations followed, involving Vetements, Vain, Palace, Cactus Jack, and Cactus Plant Flea Market.
A few days ago, McDonald’s announced its latest collaboration, steeped in nostalgia, with another brand accustomed to partnerships: Crocs. The slipper collection will feature the iconic mascots of the brand – Birdie, Hamburglar, and Grimace – and will be sold exclusively online. Despite numerous criticisms and the 2004 documentary “Super Size Me” by Morgan Spurlock, it seems that McDonald’s has managed to become something desirable again, an iconic image to which one can attach a sense of identity.