Pepsi steps into fashion with Project Cobalt, a joint initiative with All Beuys Club, Fashion Business and Accelerator 360.

Project Cobalt is Pepsi’s foray into fashion—a radical category pivot for the soda brand from its historic remit. The “culture platform” is a joint initiative between Pepsi, All Beuys Club, Fashion Business Accelerator 360 and other partners that pairs young talents with established designers to launch new creative projects. First up, a Project Cobalt clothing line featuring tees, jackets and other athletic wear. The line will be sold on the Project Cobalt site and have a limited run in a shop on the Lower East Side.

 

Remarkably, no pieces will feature any Pepsi branding, and the connection to Pepsi as parent is being purposely played down.

“Why Pepsi and fashion?” asked Trey Laird of branding firm Laird + Partners in Women’s Wear Daily of the move. Anthony Flores, a project manager for the new venture, said Pepsi saw a shift happening in culture and decided to act on it. “They have cultural relevance other than beverages,” Flores said. The move happens as soda sales are declining globally.

In our Future 100 report we talked about The Long Near Game—how nimble brands are future-proofing by looking strategically at both the long and near term. Brands from Nestlé to Levi’s have set up innovation labs to test new technologies and concepts, and to ensure their place in the world of future commerce. As we move forward and retail evolves, perhaps others will follow Pepsi’s lead and think more freely about their core category to ensure long-term success.

Image credit: Observer