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The Other Lee Jean: Renowned Street Artist Makes Unique Garment for Charity

Black artist Gianni Lee, who collaborated with Levi’s for a limited-edition collection in February, has created a new one-of-a-kind jean that will be sold for charity.

The men’s size 34 pant will benefit Good Black Art, a global platform centered around the most promising emerging Black artists.

The jean was cut and sewn at Lee’s studio in New York and is the first jean he has ever made. It is embroidered front and back with his signature skeleton motif and is inspired by his street art seen in Paris, London, Bulgaria, New York City, Cuba, Los Angeles and Philadelphia. It has multi-color paint splatters on the front left leg, white trim along the waistband, a Gianni Lee Studio leather back patch and a painted blue ribbon attached to one of the belt loops.

Gianni Lee Studio jean

The jean will be available for sale on the livestream shopping app NTWRK starting on Dec. 9 and will cost $500.

The sale is sponsored by American Express and Miami Art Week and includes glassware, a scarf and mixed media pieces by two other artists, Adrian Brandon and Sabrena Khadija. A $55 aluminum skeleton-print card case by Lee will also be offered. The fundraiser is a result of partnership Amex has with NTWRK.

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“The basis of the project was to dive into a medium that [artists] don’t normally dive into. For me that was fashion and the construction and production of denim. I never did it on my own and this is my first total deep dive into denim production,” Lee told Rivet. “Working with American Express on this project a lightbulb went off in my head and it was even more serendipitous because when you think of American Express you think of business or finance and, go figure, a business and finance institution pushed me into a creative realm that I usually won’t dive into.”

Lee added that he has always looked up to Nigo of A Bathing Ape and “the denim empires in Japan.”

“What I enjoy about the process in general is the process of creation and trying new things like talking to a production house, a dyer and a sewer. It was a long process to bring the jeans to life,” he said. “Now I’ve learned a new business and industry. And who knows? Maybe from this moment I will want to continue to work with other brands and jump into my own disciplines and make more denim. This was an amazing launching pad for me.”

In addition to his Levi’s collaboration that includes customized 501s, Trucker jackets and tote bags, Lee, who is also a musician, sells handpainted Ugg boots and original print “Black Hero” tees and totes on his online store.

Lee was also associated with Levi’s when he performed at a party celebrating the launch of Levi’s XX Chino at Levi’s Haus Miami in January 2020.