E.L.F., Aiming To 'Transcend Beauty," Partners With Iconic Brands

E.L.F. Beauty is teaming up with teen retailer American Eagle Outfitters, introducing a denim-inspired collaboration targeting the self-expressive heart of Gen Z.

It's the first partnership of the year for E.L.F., and one the brand hopes will be as big a hit as previous collabs with Dunkin' and with Chipotle have been.

"We're continuing our track record of aligning with some of the most iconic brands," says Laurie Lam, E.L.F.'s chief brand officer. "We want to transcend beauty, go into new spaces and do things that are unexpected."

The collection offers a Denim Daze Eyeshadow Palette, Perfect pHIT Lip Balm, which goes on blue and turns pink, and a Get Cheeky Clay Mask, designed for both faces and bums.

Shoppers can also buy a makeup bag constructed from AEO denim, featuring pockets, jean flies and button closures to create a one-of-a-kind makeup bag.



Lam tells Marketing Daily that while both brands have a lock on Gen Z, the partnership makes sense because of other similarities. "We share many core values centered around shaping culture and creating opportunities through self-expression."

That comes down to giving fans a platform to show off their clothes, makeup and favorite colors. E.L.F. has about 15 million people on its social platforms, and AEO has about 10 million loyalists.

AEO and Aerie, its underwear and swim brand, are also known for a commitment to authenticity, spurning models and filters to showcase a more realistic look.

That, too, jibes with E.L.F.'s approach, Lam says. For example, it's inviting fans to post a “selfie-to-belfie” moment to show off the collection, with a snapshot of their face in the new colors, and then one of their backsides in AEO jeans.

"There is no polishing there, no refining, no retakes," she says. "The idea is, just snap the photo and put it out there."

Part of the reason such partnerships matter is that they attract new audiences and create buzz. “But part of it is also to make sure that we're surprising and delighting our audience," says Lam.

E.L.F. is better suited to that kind of teamwork than some brands, she says. "We’re very elastic. In this collection, the DNA of both brands come through. The idea of American Eagle’s denim is strong, as is the makeup, touching our core categories of eyes, lips and face."

It's not the brand's only fashion-focused move lately. E.L.F. also recently announced a  charity partnership, themed after the success of its first Super Bowl ad that promoted its very sticky Power Grip Primer. That campaign included the incomparable Jennifer Coolidge comparing her skin to a dolphin.

So E.L.F. launched a Sticky Shop apparel collection, selling a Sticky Patch Varsity Jacket, Sticky Patch Hat, Power Grip Patches and Power Grip Slime(r), some of it modeled by none other than Mario ("Saved by the Bell") Lopez.

That collection includes a $100,000 donation to Whale and Dolphin Conservation, with another $25,000 in merchandise sales going to the nonprofit. The goal of the donations? To engage young girls in marine life conservation.

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