American Marketer

Apparel and accessories

Michael Kors races into Formula 1 with McLaren-Honda

June 22, 2016

Michael Kors branding appears on the McLaren-Honda uniforms Michael Kors branding appears on the McLaren-Honda uniforms


U.S. apparel label Michael Kors has become the official lifestyle partner for the McLaren-Honda Formula One team, enabling the brand to communicate its jet-set positioning to a new audience.

Putting the Michael Kors brand in front of European sports fans’ faces, its logo will feature on the champion Formula One team’s driver overalls and the McLaren-Honda MP4-31 car. While the Formula One audience is new for Michael Kors, the label shares values of design and speed with the competition.

Need for speed
Explaining the partnership in a brand statement, Ron Dennis, executive chairman/CEO of McLaren Group, said, “Like McLaren, which has raced in Formula One all over the world for the past 50 years, Michael Kors is also a truly international company, operating stylish and successful stores in some of the most prestigious cities in the world, including New York, Beverly Hills, Chicago, London, Milan, Paris, Munich, Istanbul, Dubai, Seoul, Tokyo and Hong Kong.

“Moreover, I firmly believe that the corporate cultures of both McLaren and Michael Kors encompass a common dynamism and adventurism, as well as a shared commitment to a similarly relentless pursuit of perfection, and as such the two brands are extremely well suited to a long-term partnership,” he said. “That brand fit is very important to both of us: both companies have built their reputations on being the very best at what they do, and, as we now march forward together, we’ll both become stronger still.”

McLaren Formula 1 Michael Kors

McLaren's Formula One team will race in cars with the Michael Kors logo

Bringing attention to this launch and allowing consumers to take home a piece of the Formula One experience, Michael Kors has designed a leather jacket in celebration of the partnership. Available exclusively in the menswear department of the label’s London flagship store, the 50 limited-edition coats are embellished with both the Michael Kors and McLaren logos, and every jacket will come with a plaque featuring its production number.

This collaboration reflects Michael Kors’ desire to expand its menswear collection internationally.

Last year, Michael Kors looked to further grow its menswear business with the creation of a new dedicated executive role.

Marcel Ostwald, newly appointed the senior vice president, menswear at the brand, works on both the creative strategy and product development, alongside designer Mr. Kors and president of men’s, Don Witkowski. This new hire is the latest in a series of strategic moves to help build Michael Kors’ menswear into a more global business (see story).

“Michael Kors and McLaren-Honda are pioneers in their respective spaces, and we firmly believe that McLaren-Honda is the right partner for our entry into the Formula One racing world,” said John D. Idol, chairman/CEO of Michael Kors. “This is an exciting moment for us, especially as we continue to grow as a men’s lifestyle brand.”

Putting Michael Kors in good company, other partners of the team include luxury players Chandon, Johnnie Walker and Richard Mille.