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Year In Review: Collaborations Allowed Denim Brands to Tap Into Pop Culture

Collaborations kept consumers guessing in 2019, with a number of different brands coming together in the name of fashion—and everything from classic movies to viral songs served as subjects for the collections.

We rounded up the year’s collaborations that garnered the most attention from Rivet readers and ranked them below.

1. Levi’s x Outerknown

In September, Levi’s and Outerknown collaborated on a collection of cottonized hemp, marking the first time a Levi’s Wellthread denim collection has consisted entirely of the fiber. The material is a less stiff, yet stronger version of regular hemp, according to the brand. The collaboration featured a taper-fit 502 jean, a fully recyclable fleece-lined trucker jacket, western shirts and graphic pocket tees all sustainably produced.

2. DL1961 x Marianna Hewitt

DL1961 demonstrated the effectiveness of influencers with its Marianna Hewitt collaboration, which debuted in August. Hewitt, a blogger and influencer who founded the popular skincare line Summer Fridays, collaborated with the brand on a 24-piece capsule that includes an assortment of interchangeable jeans, jackets, skirts and tops. The line is both sustainable and size-inclusive, with pieces designed with water- and energy-reducing methods, and sizes ranging from 23-34 and 16W-26W.

3. Madewell x Christy Dawn

Madewell and Christy Dawn made use of deadstock fabric in a collaboration made entirely from the material. In July, the brands teamed on a 15-piece collection featuring feminine vintage-inspired dresses and tops with minimal environmental impact, thanks to using materials left over from major fashion houses. The limited-edition collection retails for $168-$275.

4. Levi’s x Star Wars

Star Wars fans got their denim fix when Levi’s collaborated with the iconic film in October. The co-branded collection features themed graphics and recognizable movie quotes across men’s and women’s denim jackets, hoodies, sweatshirts and long-sleeved and short-sleeved T-shirts. The companies’ history stretches as far back as the original trilogy, where Luke Skywalker was filmed wearing white Levi’s jeans.

We ranked the top denim collaborations of 2019, with collections inspired by everything from classic movies to viral songs.

Levi’s x Star Wars

5. American Eagle x Lil Wayne

To gear up for back-to-school, American Eagle teamed with Grammy Award-winning multi-platinum-selling hip-hop artist Lil Wayne for an exclusive AE x Young Money collection. The partnership consisted of a 25-piece collection featuring Young Money graphics across men’s jeans, hoodies, T-shirts, shorts, boxers, socks and hats, as well as a dance-themed campaign starring the rapper.

6. Wrangler x Lil Nas X

In May, Wrangler unveiled a collection that proves “Old Town Road” was more than a hit song—it was a cultural phenomenon. The heritage denim brand teamed with the “Old Town Road” artist Lil Nas X on a limited-edition men’s and women’s capsule collection of T-shirts, denim button-down shirts, denim jackets, jean shorts and jeans. The collaboration may come as a surprise to some, but to those familiar with the song—specifically the line “Cowboy hat from Gucci, Wrangler on my booty”—it’s a perfect fit.

7. FUBU x Century 21

Streetwear stalwart FUBU and Century 21 collaborated on a collection in March that nods to the brand’s ’90s-era styles and New York City heritage. The 10-piece collection included sweatshirts and long- and short-sleeve T-shirts in the brand’s trademark reds and blues.

8. Levi’s x Justin Timberlake

Levi’s and Justin Timberlake teamed on a number of collections, but it was their Memphis-inspired line that was most popular with readers in 2019. The duo’s second “Fresh Leaves” collaboration consisted of men’s jeans, tops and denim jackets inspired by the city, featuring local landmarks and modern looks that combined a mix of hip-hop, rocker and streetwear elements.

9. Levi’s x Nike

Denim sneakers were a major trend in 2019, and Levi’s and Nike teamed to create their own version. In August, Nike launched Levi’s By You, offering Levi’s fabrics and trims as part of its own customization platform called Nike By You. Through the platform, users could choose from leather, denim, corduroy and Sherpa to customize their Air Force 1 High, Air Force 1 Low or Air Max 90.

10. Levi’s x Peanuts

Levi’s got playful with its Spring/Summer 2019 collection, which included a collaboration with the Peanuts gang. Streetwear-inspired Peanuts graphics and bright yellow tabs and labels were featured in the collection of men’s and women’s jeans, tees, hoodies, truckers and accessories. Pieces included a cap with a skateboarding Snoopy, a cropped denim jacket with graphics of the characters and more.

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