Jerico Mandybur • 12 October 2012

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again; Rodarte is an interesting label. Interesting, in that they make kind of weird decisions — not the least of which being their statement that the inspiration for their (Aboriginal-influenced) FW12/13 collection “came out of nowhere”, failing to mention the licensing of a legit Aboriginal artwork (until later). Anyways (over it), now they’ve signed up to collaborate with the chain of all mega-chains, Starbucks, on a range of nifty products, including coffee mugs, cup sleeves, tote bags and gift cards. New Yorkers Kate and Laura Mulleavy will be designing the limited edition run of super-stylish gift ideas just in time for the holidays, marking Starbuck’s first foray into the world of haute coffee. Samie Barr, Vice President of Starbucks’ Brand Management told Business Week that he hopes Rodarte “can help put us on the map as a true inspirational gifting destination.”

The signature design making up Rodarte’s contribution to the world of caffeine decor will be a pixelated checkerboard of grey, white and silver, offset by differing shades of Starbucks-appropriate green. Designing gift items is not such an easy task. Not only did Rodarte have to make sure not to compromise their indie aesthetic (and credibility on the whole), but the designs had to be holiday-friendly (while not looking lame), appeal to both men and women and be small enough to fit on a gift card or coffee mug. Why did the niche, typically counter-mainstream label agree to such a collab? It’s simple. The Mulleavys love their coffee. We hear you sisters! Laura Mulleavy has also said in an interview that despite their clothing being specialised, “we like the idea of collaborations and putting our thought process somewhere else.”

The designs are certainly unique, and in the mad Christmas-season rush to get their co-workers/cousins/cousin-in-laws a gift, State-siders will probably be buying up these bad boys faster than you can say “I prefer fair-trade.”