Martine Rose x Nike
This 2018 capsule collection, which included T-shirts, saw UK designer Martine Rose partner with US sportswear giant Nike. Inspired by London’s eclectic aesthetic, from everyday styling to club culture, and by her early years shopping for tracksuits in JD Sports, Rose’s designs lean toward the baggy and oversized. Emphasising her focus on regular people, Nike’s advertising shtick included hiring three “ordinary” sellers to be the stockists for the collection.
Supreme x Keith Haring
Arguably the most visible emblem of streetwear’s inexorable rise, Supreme has collaborated with everyone, including Nike, outdoors brand The North Face, and perhaps most symbolic of their ascent, fashion royalty Louis Vuitton. Back in 1998, they aligned themselves with the legacy of Keith Haring, the New York artist whose work was closely tied to the city’s hip-hop, skater and club cultures of the 1970s onwards. The tee featured Haring’s graffiti-style “Dog” piece.
Dumbgood x Hollywood
Many brands tap into nostalgia for bygone pop culture – for merch-makers Dumbgood, it’s their whole business model. Set up by two partners with years in the game of licensing and e-commerce, Dumbgood has built a brand around licensing official collaborations with the likes of Seinfeld, R.L. Stine horror series Goosebumps and Japanese anime Cowboy Bebop. They take a simple approach to their designs, a style that’s likely to appeal to the intellectual property holders they approach with licensing requests. It also lends to the effect they’re looking to achieve: a moment of nostalgic recognition in seeing a much-loved, half-forgotten icon.
Palace Skateboards x Umbro 2012
Umbro’s eye-popping ‘90s creations for the likes of Ajax and Spurs have been seen through a fresh lens in recent years. Brands like Patta and Supreme have revitalised their designs for modern-day streetwear fans, many of whom were but a twinkle in their parents’ eye in the era of the original kits’ heyday. This whole period of reappraisal can be traced back to skateboard brand Palace. In line with their brand’s celebration of the rave era, with its heady brew of football hooligans and music, their excellent 2012 Umbro collaboration centred around a pair of football jerseys, inspired by the England team’s official kit for the 1990 World Cup in Italy.
Alife x Wu-Tang Clan
Wu-Tang Clan and their distinctive logo are among the major icons of hip-hop history. Their T-shirts and other merch have long been popular in hip-hop circles and beyond, as have their tees for solo Wu-Tang side projects (such as Supreme’s, featuring the artwork of GZA’s Liquid Swords album). It was back in 2006, however, that Wu-Tang’s manager decided to link up with Alife to release a debut collection of official merch. The collection was a hit and was quickly followed by black and yellow Everybody Hi sneakers, and a “R.I.P. ODB” varsity jacket.
Come Tees x Eckhaus Latta
Come Tees’ limited-run designs channel an invigorating punk spirit, and the label has counted Kanye West and Rihanna among its fans since starting out in 2009. Their 2018 collaboration with Eckhaus Latta showed both brands in a new light, with Come Tee’s DIY, graffiti-inspired aesthetic giving Eckhaus Latta’s androgynous designs an unpredictable edge.
Advisory Board Crystals x Wikipedia
Worth including for the novelty value alone, 2018 saw one of the less expected fashion collabs: a link-up between nonprofit information behemoth Wikipedia and Advisory Board Crystals, a fledgeling, L.A. based label founded in 2016. Featuring the site’s logo as its centrepiece, the long sleeve tee is a simple affair, the big block text – “Information Master” – playfully underscoring the possibilities enabled by the online encyclopedia. All proceeds from the shirt go to the Wikimedia Foundation, helping to keep the site going.
IDEA X Stussy
Not a T-shirt collaboration per se, but an insight into the grand possibilities that reside in the humble tee. This book saw Stussy connect with IDEA Books to celebrate its nearly 40-year history, starting on the California coastline of Laguna Beach, to being embraced worldwide by surfers and hip-hop heads alike. It traces the label’s impact through one of its most important mediums: the T-shirt.
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