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Lee and Alife’s Ongoing Collaboration Merges Cowboy Heritage and Streetwear

Cowboy denim meets streetwear with Alife and Lee’s anniversary capsule collection.

Celebrating 20 years of Alife and 130 years of Lee, the duo released the first drop last month, with more to come throughout Fall/Winter 2019.

While each brand has its own unique style, the two come together to form an aesthetic that both honors the past and looks to the future. The collection features a corduroy jacket and pants set, selvedge denim jeans and jackets, a hoodie with bold Lee branding, and graphic T-shirts featuring Buddy Lee, the denim brand’s former mascot. Also included in the collection are colored denim sets covered in the Alife logo.

Most of the denim used in this collection was sourced from Cone Denim’s now-defunct White Oak plant in Greensboro. N.C., which was the last selvedge denim mill in the U.S. until Vidalia Mills in Louisiana announced plans last month to reboot operations.

And though this collaboration was the public’s first glimpse at a streetwear-inspired Lee collection, Alife’s founder Rob Cristofaro had this idea for years.

“As a kid, my friends and I would frequent our local Army and Navy store where there was a floor-to-ceiling wall of colored Lee to choose from. We would paint the back panel of the jackets with graffiti and iron creases on the front of the jeans,” Cristofaro said. “As a teen growing up in New York during the B-boy/breakdancing era of the ’80s, Lee was part of the uniform. Lee jeans and jackets were offered in a palette of colors, solids and pinstripes that people matched their sneakers, Le Tigré shirts and windbreakers to. Lee was a part of the 1980s history of New York.”

The Alife x Lee collection is available on the brands’ websites and at the Alife Rivington Club store in New York City. Prices range from $49 to $260.

The collaboration follows Ralph Lauren’s 2018 collaboration with streetwear brand Palace, which similarly combined traditional corduroy, flannels and knits with skate silhouettes.