Inside Denim Tears’ One-Day-Only Levis’ Collab Launch
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No one does collaborative collections like Tremaine Emory. The Supreme creative director and his Denim Tears label are responsible for an array of provocative partnerships intelligently designed to get fans involved in Emory’s exploration of “the intersection between fashion and African American history,” which he terms the African diaspora.
Emory’s Denim Tears x UGG, Cactus Plant Flea Market, ASICS GEL-MC Plus, and FLAN collections were all rooted in this conceit but each probed new perspectives.
But few other team-ups have the far-reaching impact of the Denim Tears x Levi’s collections, which have been adopted by admirers en masse on the strength of both Emory’s messaging and the perfectly unsimple cotton wreath design.
Hence Emory’s dedication to fleshing out his ongoing Denim Tears x Levi’s project, exemplified by the duo’s eight-piece collection releasing in July.
First shown during Paris Fashion Week last month, Denim Tears x Levi’s Season 2 builds upon the embedded legacy of Emory’s imminently popular cotton wreath jeans.
The Gullah Geechee people provided the core influence for Emory this time.
Progeny of enslaved African forced to toil on lower Atlantic plantations, the Gullah Geechee remained under colonialist rule until the 20th century.
In West Africa, they produced rice, Sea Island cotton and, crucially, indigo for the workwear that shod Industrial Revolution-era laborers.
African indigo dye isn’t just unique; the two components are utterly intertwined.
As dye expert Aboubakar Fofana put it, “Cotton and indigo are inextricably linked in West Africa.”
Colonialist slavers exploited the natural resources of the region for over a century, forcibly importing Gullah Geechee-made textiles from areas like the Kofar Mata Dye Pits in Nigeria.
Those indigo dyes would turn Gullah Geechee hands blue, which Emory has memorialized by imprinting illustrations of the slave’s affected digits across Levi’s signature Type-2 Jacket ($325) and 501 Jeans ($295), plus a matching sun hat ($95).
Here, the juxtaposition between the unsettling legacy of indigo dye in the West and the world’s most famous American denim staples tells the story without needing a single word.
Emory also utilized a quilted cotton for a separate set of Type-2 Jackets ($400), 501 jeans ($350), Western shirts ($290), Plantation Hats ($150), and tote bags ($195), printed and stitched throughout in homage to the crafting legacy of the Gullah Geechee, which has been preserved in part by Gullah descendants living in America.
With garments of this magnitude, Denim Tears x Levi’s season 2 has shunned a conventional rollout.
It was first made available to the public at a one-day-only pop-up at Dover Street Market Los Angeles, where shoppers were able to peruse the Levi’s line alongside a few new Denim Tears items.
Denim Tears gave Highsnobiety an exclusive inside look at both the pop-up and the VIP afterparty that followed, a raucous event that brought friends and family together to celebrate the Denim Tears community.
There are two more chances at the latest Denim Tears x Levi’s collection: Firstly, if you’re in New York, visit the Denim Tears Shopify pop-ups at 131 Greene Street on July 23 and 24 to shop the goods in person, the last IRL opportunity to do so.
Otherwise, steel yourself for July 26 9 a.m. PST, when the Denim Tears x Levi’s collection drops on the Denim Tears’ website and Dover Street Market web store in limited supply.
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