Malaysian modest lifestyle label Duck has unveiled its third international collaboration with Barbie, in conjunction with the release of the Barbie movie, starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling. The limited-edition collection includes many of the brand’s best-selling products, from scarves to shopping bags to ready-to-wear fashion. According to Duck Group co-founder Vivy Yusof, the collection was inspired by the themes of courage and self-discovery in the film. “Barbie braves herself
herself to [go to] a land that she’s never been [to] before and the ending of the movie is also a twist of courage that Barbie shows to us viewers,” she told Inside Retail. Yusof acknowledged that at first it was a challenge to design the collection because none of the team had seen the highly anticipated movie. But Mattel provided them with a style guide and overarching direction. The Duck team spent around 400 hours, around 8 hours each day for 50 days, to come up with the collection’s intricate print. “A lot of the work was spent on early conceptualisation of the print. The team meticulously dissected and analysed each frame in the teaser and trailer, leaving no detail unexplored,” Yusof said. The print features icons and elements that represent all the various “pit stops” of life within a heart-shaped land. This is both a nod to the shape of Barbieland in the film, but also has a deeper meaning. “Whatever life consists of, we must lead it with heart,” she said. “It’s important to us as a brand to encourage women to remain steadfast in their journey of self-discovery, but to also do it with a positive mindset, hence the colours we used for this collection are all bright and vibrant colours to exude optimism,” she noted. Duck Group co-founder Vivy Yusof Minimalism wins The collection takes a distinctly minimalist approach, as Yusof said that customer feedback revealed that many people wanted minimal prints rather than too many bright and bold designs. “Unlike normal fashion brands, Duck has to be extra thoughtful when designing because our star products are scarves that are worn on the head. So this design was brought out for the minimalists out there,” she said. Yusof sees her customers styling each piece from the collection together as a full look. The printed scarf is the star at Duck, so she keeps everything else simple. “Our jumpers are bestsellers and favourites of Duckies, so we knew we wanted to include them. No matter your style, everyone wears a jumper so we offered a range of jumpers with different designs – the bestseller being the Barbie B monogram one,” she explained. Collaborations matter Duck is known for its collaborations, and Yusof believes customers like them because limited-edition collections are exciting. She revealed that Duck invests a lot more marketing into collaborations,so she expects them to generate more revenue than normal collections. According to her, the partnership with Mattel very much aligns with Duck’s ethos of celebrating life’s adventures, particularly with its target market – women. “Barbie celebrates women and gives them the confidence that they can be anything they want to be, and that aligns with Duck’s belief too. From a brand strategy point of view, Duck hopes to be a global brand, so working with international brands gives Duck more credibility to get there,” she said. Yusof hopes to see an influx of new customers as a result of this collaboration. To boost sales, she tends to offer a gift with purchase, rather than taking a more discount-driven approach. Great feedback So far, the collection has received rave reviews on social media. Customers have also been visiting Duck stores to reserve items. Interestingly, some customers have said they wished there were more home and living items, or even stationery, featuring Barbie prints and motifs, so Yusof is taking this on board for future collections. When it comes to balancing vibrant colours and minimalist designs, Yusof thinks the brand knows how to balance customer preference after nine years of operation. “In every collection, there must be a star that gets people’s attention, accompanied by a range of other colour moods like muted, bright, bold, pastels,” she added. Yusof revealed that the brand has a lot of exciting collections coming up and is looking to introduce new product categories. “The pandemic threw our plan off a bit, we had to put aside our plans and pivoted to more essential items – it was just survival mode. So post-pandemic we took time to recalibrate our brand identity, product identity and focused on what we were good at,” she noted. In terms of collaborations, she said that the brand has actually reduced the number of collaborations it is doing moving forward, so the team can give their full attention to just a few for maximum impact. “With the noise that customers see everyday everywhere, there is fatigue for sure, so I think less is more for brands right now,” she concluded.