U.S. automotive brand Hummer, the supersized truck and SUV nameplate that helped define the excess of the early 2000s, is making an electric comeback with the help of a streetwear designer.
After GMC ceased Hummer production in 2010, the automaker is shifting gears and resurrecting the brand as an all-electric supertruck. Ahead of the launch of the Hummer EV later this year, GMC tapped streetwear designer Don C, born Don Crawley, for a stylish collaboration.
“When I design, my goal is to be empathetic and I really connected with this project,” Don C said. “Like GMC, I want to be a leader in developing products that add value to society.
“We’re going to achieve this by communicating good principles through the Just Don x Hummer EV design,” he said.
Don’t call it a comeback
The Hummer EV was announced last year, with production set to begin this fall as GMC moves to grow its share of the electric vehicle market.
To celebrate the new EV, GMC and Don C are partnering on a design collaboration that takes inspiration from the iconic Hummer design.
Inspired by its military grade-vehicles Humvees, heavy vehicle manufacturer AM General introduced the civilian Hummer in 1992. By 1999, AM General sold the brand name to General Motors, which took over the marketing and distribution of Hummers.
GM introduced its own Hummer models in 2002 and 2005, the H2 and H3, with more comfortable and aesthetically pleasing designs than the original. Four-door pickup truck versions, the H2 SUT and H3T, were also introduced.
The oversized vehicles soon became ubiquitous in the United States, with national sales of the H2 nearly doubling from 2002 to 2003. U.S. sales of the H3 peaked in 2006, with more than 54,000 vehicles sold.
Due its high price tag and fuel expenses — Hummers were notorious for poor gas mileage — as well as large size, the vehicles were most popular among affluent suburbanites. Even among the wealthy, however, consumer demand was relatively short-lived, with sales of Hummers starting to fall in the mid-2000s.
The financial crisis of 2007 and 2008 helped usher in the end of the gas-guzzling Hummer, with GM ceasing production in 2010.
Consumers tastes have changed in the decade since the Hummer faded from view. After the economy recovered, U.S. drivers resumed their love affair with trucks and SUVs while EV manufacturer Tesla became a branding success story.
This is the environment in which GMC — GM’s General Motors Truck Company division, which focuses on premium trucks and utility vehicles — is reviving the Hummer as an EV. With a price tag above $112,000, the first pre-order of the Hummer EV sold out within minutes.
The Hummer EV’s interior and exterior, including the “H” logo, as well as the iconic grille inspired Don C’s first design collaboration with the brand. The longtime Hummer fan has collaborated with Air Jordan, Converse and Rémy Martin, and counts Virgil Abloh and Kanye West as close friends.
Launching exclusive on his website on March 25, Don C has designed Don x Hummer EV baseball cap in black. The design, which also recalls the cap which launched his brand, also incorporates the ballistic fabric and non-leather found in the electric supertruck.
Luxury auto meets fashion
Collaborations between automakers and fashion designers or brands can be valuable opportunities to reach untapped audiences, particularly within the streetwear space.
Last September, German automaker Mercedes-Benz unveiled a unique take on its G-Class through a collaboration with Mr. Abloh, who like Don C has roots to Chicago. Project Geländewagen is the result of a partnership between Mr. Abloh, men’s artistic director at French fashion label Louis Vuitton and founder of streetwear brand Off-White, Mercedes’ chief design officer Gorden Wagener (see story).
The following month, Germany’s BMW launched a capsule collection and limited-edition sports car in partnership with streetwear label Kith. Only 150 editions of the BMW M4 Competition x Kith were produced, while the more accessible Kith for BMW collection featured bomber jackets, robes, sweaters and more (see story).