Top 10 Fashion Collaborations of 2018
Two years ago we published separate lists for best collaborations in both streetwear and high-fashion. Then last year saw the two distant worlds collide with Supreme and Louis Vuitton’s collection, shown at Paris Fashion Week in January no less, setting the tone for the next 11 months…and onward into 2018. This year brought surprising new additions to this rather unlikely love affair, including epitomes of functional outerwear and luggage getting in on the admiration. If 2017 introduced high-fashion to streetwear’s collaborative ways, 2018 proved it’s much more than a trendy fling. In no particular order, here are the top fashion collaborations of 2018.
1.Palace x Polo Ralph Lauren
The unexpected team-up between London skate imprint Palace and all-American brand Polo Ralph Lauren cemented the endless possibilities of collaboration. With the Kickflip Polo Bear Sweatshirt standing as a prime example of the capsule’s defiant attitude, the two placed a focus on fashion’s current complacent state. Palace co-founders Lev Tanju and Gareth Skewis gave their fans something they didn’t know they needed with the partnership. The duo also noted that the collaboration was an absolute “dream come true” for them, serving as “a love letter from a young London skateboard company to their favorite brand in the universe.” Coinciding with the opening of Palace’s new Shibuya flagship, the Polo Ralph Lauren collab marked a number of things. Most notably, the release cemented the place of the uniquely British skate brand at an international level and spotlighted Polo’s stance as a lasting socio-cultural icon.
2. Matthew M. Williams x Nike
Continuing to define himself as an all-encompassing fashion powerhouse, this year Matthew M. Williams put together a performance-driven collection in collaboration with Nike. For the capsule, Williams mixed data influences with the design ethos he has established with his breakout brand 1017 ALYX 9SM. This digital influence, in combination with his affinity for utility, spawned a new vision of the “future training uniform.” Williams utilized computational design and analyzed data regarding motion, heat and sweat zones to elevate the concept of performance apparel, then finished each item with his application of “imperfections” against the sharpness of the computer’s results. This included a women’s mid-layer tank with raw edges, men’s training shorts with detachable layers and double-layered socks. With this collaboration, the designer questioned the place of “sportswear” in fashion and showed his adaptive nature with this project’s innovative outlook.
3. THUNDERBOLT PROJECT BY FRGMT POKÉMON
Debuted at the inaugural iteration of Hypefest, Hiroshi Fujiwara’s THUNDERBOLT PROJECT BY FRGMT POKÉMON captured the hearts of gaming and fashion fans alike in 2018. Tapping into nostalgia, the team-up is centered around shadow versions of Pikachu, Raichu and Mew, accompanied by a modified Pokéball graphic. Hiroshi’s signature fragment design lightning bolt logos are also incorporated heavily as a result of its similarities to the eletrical Pokémon, Pikachu. Hiroshi’s collab represented a high-level execution for crossover product and presented a look into a generation’s infatuation with the Japanese franchise.
4. Supreme x COMME des GARÇONS SHIRT
Among all the collaborations we saw from Supreme this year, none stood out more prominently than the New York skate label’s joint venture with COMME des GARÇONS SHIRT. Serving as the latest in their ongoing partnership, the special Fall/Winter 2018 range is just another mark in Supreme’s growing intersection with luxury fashion. Centered around streetwear’s notion of “cut-and-sew,” the union brought together elements of fashion, art and skate. Notable items included a split box logo tops, a reworked CdG knitted sweater and a take on Nike’s Air Force 1 Low. Although the Supreme x COMME des GARÇONS SHIRT may not have been your favorite ‘Preme drop, it does stand as another pivotal moment for the two brands’ and their collaborative line.
5. Junya Watanabe MAN x The North Face
Continuing its ongoing relationship with The North Face, Junya Watanabe MAN teamed up with the outdoor apparel specialist for another seasonal release. The Japanese designer reimagined TNF backpacks and sleeping bags, creating yet another set of uniquely functional outerwear pieces. The rugged jackets offered an interesting take on technical garments through a meshing of contemporary menswear silhouettes with utilitarian design elements and striking color palettes. Most notably, Junya interfused trail jackets with sewn-in backpacks and signature elements from his namesake brand, including plaid lining and corduroy accents. The capsule proves the importance of collaboration, delivering TNF’s technical prowess to a new high-fashion crowd.
6. Matthew M. Williams, Yoon, KAWS x Dior Homme
Technically a Spring/Summer 2019 collection, Kim Jones’ debut for Dior Homme was made available this year, releasing off schedule. Breaking the rules in all kinds of ways, the powerhouse collection proved collaboration’s rightful place in high-fashion with three expertly-executed partnerships. Yoon of AMBUSH as well as 1017 ALYX 9SM‘s Matthew M. Williams were brought on for the collection, namely handling the jewelry and hardware details, respectively. If that wasn’t enough, globally-renowned artist KAWS was scouted to create the artistic tone of the whole show, on top of producing the KAWS “Bees” and reimagining Dior’s logo. With the collection, Kim Jones effectively built an outlet to praise like-minded creatives to go along with his rebranding of Dior. Most recently, the designer linked up with Matthew M. Williams and Yoon once again in collaboration, but with another revered artist, Hajime Sorayama, for Dior’s Pre-Fall 2019 offering.
7. Off-White™ x RIMOWA
This year, premium luggage purveyor RIMOWA came together with Virgil Abloh’s Off-White™ to launch an updated product line. One of the year’s most anticipated collaborations, RIMOWA’s redesign was envisioned as an expression of lifestyle meets fashion. Instead of playing off of the luggage brand’s popular aluminum aesthetic, Virgil created a desirable travel companion made from fully transparent polycarbonate. The result was a brazen yet playful response to privacy culture that’s plagued by surveillance and anonymity. In the end, the collaboration displayed how one collaboration can be used to mark a new beginning or reinvention, as it helped usher in a new century for RIMOWA.
8. Gosha Rubchinskiy x Burberry
Straying away from its usual sportswear partnerships, Gosha Rubchinskiy’s Fall/Winter 2018 collection featured a choice collaboration with British fashion house Burberry. The range pays homage to the heritage label, creating updated takes on Burberry’s signature check pattern, including Gosha’s affinity for oversized silhouettes applied to the former’s hallmark outerwear. Not only did this collab aid the British house in kicking off its latest rebranding, Gosha proved his design potential, moving beyond the street-meets-sport he was most known for.
9. Moncler Genius
Continuing its fashion forward push, this year Moncler decided to end its Gamma Rouge and Gamma Bleu lines to introduce Moncler Genius. The unique initiative saw the Italian label bring on a group of “exceptional minds” who were “chosen on instinct to shape visions of uniqueness.” Centered around an established focus on outerwear, Moncler Artistic Director, Francesco Ragazzi of Palm Angels, lead the new definition of the label. Other collaborators included designer Craig Green, fragment design’s Hiroshi Fujiwara, Valentino Creative Director Pierpaolo Piccioli and more, all of whom designed full capsules for the Moncler Genius line. Moncler took the idea of collaboration to its fullest, offering a group of visionaries the opportunity to form an array of unique, fashion-driven directions under the established Moncler name.
10. Union LA x Jordan Brand
Accompanied by a highly-coveted Air Jordan 1, retailer Union LA’s collaboration with Jordan Brand drew a sizeable amount of hype thanks to its vintage theme and ingenious rollout strategy. Those lucky enough to win the Union x AJ1 raffle made their way into a Los Angeles warehouse on launch day. The release became something like a mini-convention rather than the usual “at retail store” pick-up, which most had anticipated. In turn, the collaboration brought together a community of sneakerheads, sports-fans and fashion aficionados. Sure, the two pairs of the AJ1 were the centerpiece of this release, but the apparel was almost just as hyped, as it featured retro sportswear with refurbished graphics from MJ’s hayday, distressing elements and washed-out colors.