- Taco Bell and retailer Forever 21 are partnering for a "food fashion" clothing line, according to a press release. The food-related tops, bodysuits, sweatshirts and jackets will be available at select Forever 21 stores and on the company's website beginning Oct. 11.
- A day before the debut, the partners will preview the line in the fashion district of Los Angeles alongside a taco truck and band supported by Taco Bell's "Feed the Beat" initiative, per the release. Consumers can submit photos or videos on social media via the hashtag #F21xTacoBell to be featured at the event.
- The team enlisted a number of agencies for the campaign, including Edelman, Deutsch, Digitas, Spark Foundry and United Entertainment Group, Ad Age reported.
Taco Bell joins a growing list of quick-service restaurants turning to merchandise to beef up product offerings and attract young consumers. The brand is also betting that the hip-looking clothes will inspire loyal fans to snap photos and videos of themselves to share on social media, boosting awareness and reach. Tacos are oddly popular in fashion at the moment, as The Wall Street Journal highlighted in a report from August, so the partnership gives Taco Bell a chance to capitalize on the trend.
With the clothing line — which comes with a "food fashion" tag that cleverly plays on the term fast fashion — the QSR appears to be interested in grabbing the attention of Forever 21's young shopper base, especially its Gen Z audience. For the L.A. launch event, two of the models include Brittany Creech and Andrew McBurnie, who became Taco Bell influencer "super fans" after posing for senior high school portraits in the restaurants, per Ad Age.
To date, most brands offering merch have taken the e-commerce route, though Taco Bell will offer some of its clothes in select Forever 21 stores. Fellow Yum! brand KFC set up an e-commerce shop in July that included branded clothes like Colonel Sanders t-shirts and hipster-friendly sweatshirts, and McDonald's rolled out loungewear that month to promote its McDelivery service with UberEATS. The common thread is that brands have realized that many of their fans are willing to pay hefty price tags to snag exclusive gear that essentially doubles as free promotions.