Ranking The Most Unlikely Of Fashion Collabs Over The Past 10 Years
When Lil Wayne teased the release of his upcoming collaborative capsule collection and the brand in question turned out to be none other than frat boy favourite American Eagle, fans were left with just one question:
After 12 albums and five Grammys, Lil Wayne has earned the right to do pretty much as he pleases – something he demonstrated last week when he walked off stage and threatened to quit his tour with Blink 182, because it “wasn’t his swag” – but this one seemed odd even for him.
No stranger to fashion, the rapper has his own label Trukfit, bringing to life his curious skater-cum-gangbanger style. This collection, however, taps into the university lifestyle that characterises American Eagle.
With 25 pieces in total, there’s everything from denim jackets and hoodies to socks, hats and skate decks. Emblazoned with ‘Young Money’ – the imprint of Cash Money Records Wayne owns – the collection makes use of colorful tie-dye and cartoonish typography, clearly aimed at a young demographic.
Global brand president of American Eagle Chad Kessler admitted the partnership was perhaps a surprising one, stating Lil Wayne “might not be the first person to come to mind,” when thinking about the US brand. However, the relationship began after the release of ‘Uproar’ off Wayne’s recent Tha Carter V album.
‘Uproar’s catchy production, courtesy of producer Swizz Beatz, was a hit with the young customer base American Eagle were hoping to engage. Deciding to incorporate the song into its marketing campaign, American Eagle had a pathway into the Gen Z market base and the seeds for the collab were sown.
OK, so there was some thought behind it.
With the full collection revealed on July 30 and in stores on August 10, we thought this the perfect opportunity to trawl the fashion archives of the past decade or so to compile the unlikeliest of collaborations – and unpack the logic that may have lead them there.
Lil Yachty x Nautica
When Yachty dropped his debut mixtape Lil Boat in 2016, there was really only one brand with the credentials to partner him on a clothing collection.
Tapping into the retro feel of the American brand, as well as the obvious nautical theme pervading Yachty’s musical and persona, the rapper had himself a truly bespoke collab and Nautica had an entry path back into modern relevance. A win win.
Golf Le Fleur x Lacoste
One is a subversive clothing brand set up by multi-hyphenate Tyler the Creator and aimed at kids more likely to watch sport behind a veil of irony than actually be seen playing it.
The other is classic institution that appeals to an audience more likely believe Tyler is in fact an inventor of some sort. Blending the two, you combine Tyler’s undeniable cool factor with Lacoste’s iconic label and history – game, set and… sorry, couldn’t resist.
Post Malone x Crocs
Now we’re moving into confusing territory. Post has emerged as one of the biggest recording artists on the planet with a net worth of well over $15m. But all that money hasn’t meant the 24-year-old is impervious to a misstep or two.
From the cornrows circa 2015 to the can of Bud Light that sits perpetually in his right hand, Post’s style is ‘individual’ if nothing else.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise then that the ‘Rockstar’ singer opted against the conventional route of engaging a sneaker brand for a shoe collab and instead went for nurse and chef favourite Crocs. The collection sold out within minutes so not such a bad idea after all.
Will.i.am x Specsavers
The Black Eyed Peas frontman has a “lifelong love of eyewear” according to the Specsavers website. So clearly it was only a matter of time before these two teamed up.
Featuring 10 frame styles (sorry ladies, only four in women’s) you can now channel your favourite The Voice judge the next time you’re in need of a new pair of glasses. Thank goodness.
KAWS x DC Shoes
Real name Brian Donnelly, KAWS has become a sensation in the art world through his curious use of graphics and clever interpretation of pop culture. KAWS has worked with a long list of brands including Kim Jones’ Dior, Nike and and Uniqlo, but it’s the partnership back in 2002 with cult skate shoe brand DC that had us scratching our heads.
Now largely favoured by sun-adverse teens with an energy drink addiction, DC hardly seemed the natural home for one of the world’s coolest artists. The shoe featured KAWS’ ‘Running Chum’ figure along the side and only 300 were produced (probably for the best).
Yeezy x Adidas
When Kanye West decided to enter the sneaker game in 2015, Nike was leagues ahead of any competitor, including Adidas, when it came to lucrative drops.
But after initially working together, Kanye ditched the Portland-based brand and went for the way of the three stripes and the sneaker landscape was changed forever. A game-changing collab.