Music, surf, and American 70’s aesthetics are the ingredients Honda concocted for its latest Honda Rebel – Aviator Nation project, together with the California inspired lifestyle brand.

Like Levi’s Rolling Stone 50th anniversary edition, this collaboration premiered on the perfect stage of SXSW Festival – more than a mere rock music event, an ephemeral container for millennials. Just like Coachella, born as a music and art festival but now a platform for nomadic contemporaries, where sponsors like the H&M and New Era quickly evolved to become product ambassadors, with customized limited edition collections.


The H&M loves Coachella official collection, presented in February, goes on sale during these days, some weeks before the Festival itself. It’s designed to “capture that festival spirit whether you’re lucky enough to be in the Californian desert, or sharing the Coachella feeling around the world”. The range, endorsed by The Atomics, differs from New Era’s approach, still in a more traditional merchandising mold, with official editions sold only onsite to the lucky attendees.

The Honda Rebel Aviator Nation is probably more interesting for marketers – at first glance perhaps because SXSW is not so global and still in its growing curve, but especially because Honda is not known as a power-user of co-branded limited editions. Suddenly, here the brand is playing for keeps, with a project based on lifestyle and soft values, which suit both parties in the equation.

Aviator Nation was founded by Paige Mycoskie – sister of TOMS Shoes founder, Blake Mycoskie – in Venice Beach, 2006, and has since grown into a lifestyle brand with 5 destination retail locations in USA. Paige’s passion for 1970s fashion and the music that defined that period are her constant muses. In 2012, Aviator Nation launched a partnership with Austin City Limits Music Festival.

For that event, Mycoskie curated a signature Aviator Nation experience in the artist’s lounge inspired by the unmistakable energy of Woodstock. From music festivals to shop-in-shops to launching an Aviator Nation flagship on the corner of Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco, Paige has taken her unique approach to fashion design and created a global / niche market.

With the same spirit, the Honda Rebel + Aviator Nation bike makes its first outdoor appearance at the Waterloo Records Day Parties during SXSW in Aviator Nation’s on-site pop-up shop. As part of the collaboration, custom-designed Aviator Nation + Honda Powersports gear –tanks, tees and hats – have been created exclusively for the Waterloo Records Day Parties.

Glastonbury can be seen as more pure and less commercially contaminated, but we cannot forget the effect on the brand ignited by Kate Moss caught sporting Hunter rain boots in 2005. Any event owns a spirit that can reflect on the brands that are able to catch it.