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Forbes published its annual most valuable brands study in May. While it may be no surprise that Apple took top ranking, followed by Google, notable is the elevated fashion brand lineup in the index.

Teeming with fashion brands, primarily luxury, the Forbes top valued 100 brands also include sports apparel and fast fashion giants. Ranked by Forbes in the fashion category, Nike stole first place, ranking #18 (brand value $27.5 B) to outpace all of the luxury fashion brands, outpacing LVMH behemoth Louis Vuitton (ranking #19, value $27.3 B).

The much vaunted luxury fashion hierarchy, already pushed by fast fashion and slumping global luxury fashion revenues, has new contenders – sports apparel leaders who have entered the fray with lifestyle and athleisure collections.

As luxury fashion migrates into lifestyle fashion lines, they are coming up against lifestyle and performance wear heavies Nike, Adidas, Under Armour, who are bracing to compete in high-end leisure wear with $200 designer T-shirts, and more.

To wit, Under Armour (valued at $4 billion) recently hired upscale leisure designer Tim Coppens as an executive creative director to create a new UAS (Under Armour Sportswear) line.

UA, like Nike, has been aggressively building brand communities, largely based on performance wear excellence.  Whether they can leverage these as upscale brand conversion customers and gain market share luxe leisure wear is yet to be seen.

To be sure, each both Nike and UA have seen their active wear fortunes grow, largely due to evolving attitudes toward workplace identity and vanishing corporate dress codes. Sales of activewear grew 16% last year, with sales totaling $43.6 billion.

And Nike, now in the company of top Forbes luxury fashion brands, last week launched NikeLab x Oliver Rousteing: Football Nouveau, flexing its catwalk appeal with luxury designer collaboration with the creative director of Balmain. Rousteing, incidentally, was the first French luxury designer to attract a million Instagram followers, a number which now exceeds 3 million.

Nike Lab’s Summer of Sport series was first kicked off with a collection by Givenchy Creative Director Riccardo Tisci. The collections are inspired by the lifestyles of professional players competing in the Euro 2016 soccer championship, which runs from June 10 to July 10 in France.

Localspeak started tracking the FootBall Nouveau collection launch on the NetBase enterprise social intelligence platform. Below is a NetBase summary metrics chart, indicating a strong kick-off for Nike x Rousteing, which in a mere few days earned nearly 400 million potential impressions. Sentiment, however, has been mixed.

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An indication of Olivier Rousteing’s strategic social media influencer dexterity is his uncanny ability to push the earned media needle within days of the collection dropping, reflected in the NetBase Converged Media chart below.

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And to get a snapshot of early campaign launch domain traction and respective sentiment, the chart below shows the Nike x Rousteing collection, as expected, vying for dominance on Instagram and Tumblr.

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Four of the most coveted lifestyle sneakers in the Nike x Rousteing collection, each riffing a soccer silhouette, are the Footscape Magista, Free Mercurial Flyknit, Roshe Tiempo VI and Free Hypervenom 2.

Within days of the NikeLab x Olivier Rousteing sneaker drop in stores an online, Localspeak began tracking the four models in NetBase, which shows the Free Mercurial Flyknit leading the launch in the Crosstab chart below.

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Who will lead the luxury leisure category? For now, at least, top Forbes fashion contender Nike is betting on the king of glitzy dark glam’s golden touch Rousteing and his penchant for black and gold. Oh, and be ready to dish out $300 for an N98 women’s jacket.  Coming soon, no doubt, to an office near you.

Previously appeared on Social Media Today

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