The Brooklyn Museum's Off-White Capsule Is a Different Kind of Promotional Merch Campaign
Museum exhibits typically come with a special batch of merchandise in the gift shop. Those product lines tend to touch on the exhibit itself, reflecting the themes on display or the life of the featured artist.
In the case of the Brooklyn Museum's exhibit on the late fashion designer Virgil Abloh, the merchandise comes from his Off-White brand, and comes with higher asking prices than many museum gift shop products.
The Brooklyn Museum Drops New Exclusive Off-White Merchandise https://t.co/j50KxaWyFj
— City Life Org (@citylifeorg) September 16, 2022
The merchandise capsule, which was available at the museum at a special after-hours event last night, and is available online starting today, showcases products made in Italy that feature checkerboard patterns and text details about the exhibition in the typical busy Off-White style. On the apparel side, there are T-shirts, hoodies and smoking jackets.
Staff at Brooklyn Museum for the Virgil Abloh show wearing the green Off-White x Nike Air Force 1s. pic.twitter.com/RxeudGg6YR
— brendandunne (@brendandunne) June 29, 2022
Aside from apparel, it also features leather handbags, print posters, a flip clock and a postcard book.
The exclusive collection designed by OFF-WHITE for Brooklyn Museum comprises a selection of remixes of fan-favorite apparel and accessory lines https://t.co/cMZRTAwnBA
— highsnobiety.eth (@highsnobiety) September 16, 2022
That postcard book set is going to be the cheapest thing you can get, coming in at $20. The most expensive is the smoking jacket, which costs $4,415, and comes in black or white.
Nike also put out a design of its Air Force 1 sneaker in collaboration with Off-White and the Brooklyn Museum, which museum employees wore during the event.
The “Green” Off-White x Nike Air Force 1 Low is potential releasing in collaboration with The Virgil Abloh: Figures Of Speech exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum starting 7/1 through 1/29/2023 💚 pic.twitter.com/T5dEIrbUNs
— Nice Kicks (@nicekicks) April 25, 2022
It's a lot to ask for what amounts to promotional merchandise about a museum exhibit, but to make and sell cheap apparel relating to the life of a visionary designer would seem to take away from the spirit of Virgil Abloh, which is the whole point of the exhibit. It wouldn't feel right. It wouldn't accurately represent what's on display.
The most on-brand marketing the museum could do here is create an exclusive event to purchase the merchandise in person, then make it available online, and be sure that it properly reflects the style of the exhibit through the eyes of Off-White.
Does this mean that every museum needs to start using designer products for its promotional marketing? Absolutely not. But this is a good representation of how products can capture the vibe of the event, whether it's a museum exhibit, party, charity baseball game, you name it.