2020, among other things, will be remembered as a year for collaborations. Retailers partnered up with charitable organisations and luxury brands worked with sportswear behemoths. This year saw collaborations that paid tribute to iconic designers, some made prices skyrocket on StockX, and others became the forces of change. Here are our top 10 collaborations of 2020.
Dior X Air Jordan
News of the collaboration between Dior and Jordan began circulating in late 2019. When Travis Scott wore them at Art Basel in December, the world sat on the edge of its seat, waiting for their chance to buy them. When they released in June 2020, retailing at $2,000, StockX Senior Economist Jesse Einhorn called this collaboration “the most hyped sneaker release of the year.” 5 million people signed up to purchase the sneakers, and the highest bid currently on StockX is at a whopping $59,979, although Jesse says the average sale price for the shoe is at $10,093, still five times more than the retail price. The Dior Jordan 1 High, as well as the Low version, were “among the most-viewed items” on StockX, with several individual pairs selling for $15,000 in July. The shoe was of course helped by Netflix’s ‘The Last Dance’ documentary series, also helping see a “40% spike in sales of Jordan sneakers” with both older and newer models receiving a renewed interest.
Gucci X The North Face
The North Face is no stranger to collaborations, frequently working with Supreme to deliver highly anticipated releases. Their collaboration with Gucci raised the bar though, with the outerwear brand releasing a puffer jacket with the iconic Gucci Diamante pattern. The collaboration was evidence of Gucci’s ability to stay relevant and young while continuing to make beautiful, on-brand clothing.
Margiela x The North Face
This year, The North Face also collaborated with Maison Margiela’s contemporary line MM6. The North Face’s Expedition System collection was radically reshaped, using archives from both brands to deliver a number of outerwear pieces. This included a new take on the classic puffer jacket to Tabi Expedition mitt gloves. This collaboration was another big step in seeing fashion houses working with streetwear brands to entice a wider audience.
LV x NBA
The NBA has become a powerhouse in driving fashion trends. The pre-game tunnel has become the new catwalk, with players boldly displaying avant-garde outfits, hyping up both independent and designer brands. To many then, their collaboration with Louis Vuitton came to no surprise. The collection features a mix of sportswear, tailoring and accessories, all emblazoned with either the iconic Jerry West NBA logo or the Louis Vuitton monogram. This collaboration was proof that the NBA is not only relevant in keeping with fashion trends but is also the most stylish sports league out there.
Rick Owens x Champion
Rick Owens and Champion aren’t two brands you’d have necessarily put together. Rick Owens forged a bold new path in fashion using gothic colours, provocative fabrics and exaggerated fits. Champion on the other hand has based itself as a reliable, if not sometimes underwhelming classic sportswear brand. Their collaboration; TECUATL played to both of their strengths perfectly. The collection was entirely monochromatic, using Owens’ signature aesthetic, with gym shorts made out of mesh and tank tops out of nylon. Meanwhile, the clothes had the rugged durability that Champion is known for. With many collaborations seemingly happening because they can rely on hype or profit, TECUATL made sense as it took the best aspects of each brand and made something bigger.
CDG x Futura
COMME des GARÇONS has often worked with artists to achieve visually appealing beautiful works of art. Their FW20 collaboration with renowned graffiti artist Futura featured 12 pieces, all adorned with the artist’s signature bright graffiti pattern. The collection incorporated three of Futura’s prints as well as his signature Pointman character into the graffiti design. Using Futura’s aesthetic and Kawakubo’s eye for shape and print, the collaboration was a much-needed pop of colour in today’s climate.
Dover Street Market and Sky High Farm
In October, Dover Street Market announced a year-long partnership with Sky High Farm; a non-profit organisation that focuses on food security and nutrition in the United States. The collaboration spanned art, film, food as well as fashion, with the first iteration including 12 brands collaborating on the project. The brands involved all share Sky High Farm’s worldview and wanted to help, including NOAH, Supreme, Awake NY, Cactus Plant Flea Market, F-king Awesome, Denim Tears, 917, Better Gift Shop, Brain Dead, IRAK, MadeMe and Total Luxury Spa. Donations helped Sky High Farm expand their production, supporting local communities in the process. At a time when many are struggling, the commitment from Dover Street Market is a sign of the fashion industry’s willingness to help.
Kenzo X Kansai Yamamoto
This collaboration, between Japanese designer Kenzo and Japanese artist Kansai Yamamoto, is significant for two reasons. One, it allowed us to see a combination of the work of two Japanese legends. Also, it served as a fitting tribute for Kenzo Takada and Kansai Yamamoto, who both sadly passed away earlier this year. The collection, inspired by both of their archives, showed the passion for design in its truest forms.
Supreme X Yohji Yamamoto
Yohji Yamamoto, a pioneer of the 90’s anti-fashion movement, represents the ultimate anti-establishment attitude. It is fitting then, that he chose to collaborate with Supreme, a brand that has changed the game through its appeal to both critical and cultural attitudes. Released in September, the collaboration used graffiti-style fonts to cement the bad-boy rebellious images that both brands have cultivated over the years. Many Yohji fans believed that he was selling out to the very thing he’d spent his career rebelling against. However, the collection was a huge success both critically and commercially. It helped introduce younger Supreme fans to a legendary designer in the process.
Shawn Stussy X Dior
For Dior’s pre-fall men’s 2020 collection, Kim Jones collaborated with Shawn Stussy. The collaboration brought Stüssy’s iconic work of graphics and lettering into the world of luxury. This collaboration was important as it marked Stussy’s debut as an artist and his return to the fashion world. Shawn Stussy had been mostly out of the spotlight since leaving his eponymous brand in 1996. Time had not changed him and the collection brought on the psychedelic inspirations of 1990’s California.