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In celebration of its 150th anniversary, Heineken has partnered with Nigerian apparel brand Dye Lab to release a series of limited-edition fabrics. The textiles feature various elements referencing Heineken: the brand's colors, an outline of a bottle, its logo star, and the year the brewery was founded — 1873.
Established in 2021 and inspired by traditional Yoruba techniques, Dye Lab uses hand-dyed cloth, carved wooden stamps and wax-resist to create its patterned fabrics. Those are then fashioned into striking, billowing robes and dresses modeled after the traditional Nigerian agbada, as well as tops and culottes. The responses to the label's designs for Heineken are overwhelmingly positive, drawing remarks like: "Tres, tres cool," "This is fire" and "Ok these are so fresh."
Though Heineken may not immediately spring to mind as a style influencer, the beer company has been the lead sponsor of Lagos Fashion Week since 2015. The anniversary fabric and a small collection of garments it's been made into aren't available for purchase; Dye Lab notes that "Heineken will be gifting at their discretion."
Once emerging and now booming nations like Nigeria are no longer downplaying their cultural heritage. They're basking in it. Which spells opportunities for global players to act on domestic pride by championing local creators. How could your brand, like Heineken, tap into and promote a specific heritage?
Which symbols, traditions or regional craftsmanship would make for a natural — or delightfully unexpected — fit with your company's character? Tread carefully: equal partnership with creators is vital, and any semblance of appropriation will backfire. But get it right, and you can brew up a mutually beneficial cycle of cross-cultural enrichment.
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