Evolving and tapping into cultural moments have played a key role in Wrangler’s longevity in fashion. The heritage brand was famously worn onstage by Queen’s leading man Freddie Mercury in the ’80s, and 20 years later rapped about by Lil Nas X. And both high-profile endorsements have led to limited-edition collaborations with wide-sweeping appeal.
The Kontoor Brands-owned denim giant is back at it with two new collaborations that center on Gen Z and Gen Y pop-culture favorites. The consecutive collaborations underscore the brand’s ongoing evolution and continued mass appeal.
On Tuesday, Wrangler launched a collaboration with Adult Swim’s Emmy award-winning series “Rick and Morty,” a dark sci-fi cartoon with a cult following.
The seeds for Wrangler’s collaboration with “Rick and Morty” were planted in the series’ season four finale when it referenced a “NX-5 Planet Remover ”laser that was fictionally sponsored by Wrangler and destroyed everything on the planet except for Wrangler jeans.
The denim brand saw an opportunity for a true collaboration, and worked with the “Rick and Morty” creative team on two men’s T-shirts as well as a laser-printed jean jacket featuring custom artwork.
Wrangler’s partnership with the animated show was a perfect fit in more ways than one, said Holly Wheeler, Wrangler vice president of global brand marketing. “We loved the tongue-in-cheek joke since lasers are actually a big part of our denim production—from digital wash applications to onsite customer customization with our nano-laser,” she said. “The collaboration was a fun and natural way for us to do something authentic with our brand that joins in on the joke.”
The collection is now available exclusively on Wrangler.com and precedes an upcoming virtual Adult Swim Festival, streaming Nov. 13 and Nov. 14 on Adult Swim’s YouTube channel. The collection’s retail price range is $29-$79.
Wrangler also teamed with the hit Netflix series “Stranger Things” for a limited-edition collection that launched on Monday. The collection landed during a celebratory time for fans of the series as Monday marked “Stranger Things Day,” a reference to the day character Will Byers went missing in 1983.
The collection includes men’s and women’s T-shirts, and a men’s faded jean jacket with embroidery and embellishment inspired by the show’s ’80s time period. Artwork centers around the Hellfire Club, a nod to a plot line within the series’ upcoming season.
“Wrangler has been a major icon in denim for more than 70 years, and Netflix’s ‘Stranger Things’ is very authentic to the time period the show portrays in the ‘80s, which was a major era for the brand,” Wheeler said about the partnership. “We’re excited to be able to throw back with some of our more classic styles while reaching the show’s global fanbase.”
The Wrangler x Stranger Things Collection is available on Wrangler.com with shipping throughout North America and Europe, and products available in-store in Berlin. Prices range from $49-$128.
For Wrangler, collaborations are an opportunity to show another side of its design portfolio. And based on their positive track record, in the company’s latest earnings call. Kontoor Brands president and CEO Scott Baxter hinted that more are likely to come. The company is focused on expanding into new price tiers and markets, Baxter said. Special collections and having a footprint in multiple channels give the company a “distinct advantage” and allows Kontoor to be a bigger player in the denim category, he added.