A new collection tells a new tale of the American West and the Black cowboy.
Heritage denim brand Lee and The Brooklyn Circus, the history-inspired men’s wear brand founded by Ouigi Theodore, released Tuesday a capsule collection that threads the significance of Black cultural influence on the West through fashion.
“Power to the people. We aim to tell the story of our community through meaningful partnerships like this one with Lee,” Theodore said. “The Brooklyn Circus finds inspiration in the pages of history, so collaborating with a heritage brand like Lee to highlight the history of the Black working west made perfect sense.”
Theodore, who has previously collaborated with Macy’s, Todd Synder and candle studio Joya, worked closely with the Lee team to apply his streetwear lens to brand’s storied silhouettes. The collection spans men’s and women’s jeans, tops, overalls, jackets and Union-Alls—a Lee style dating back to 1913.
“Lee can tap into different cultures because we were there in real time. Concepting this collaboration was very exciting as we worked to blend western and workwear with urban sophistication while keeping the integrity of each,” said Sedgwick Cole Jr., Lee global director of men’s design. “Every detail from the Japanese selvedge denim to the Melton wool fabric and exclusive patterns and pallets twist these two stories together.”
The collection arrives at a time when Western fashion is piping hot. Along with influencing the runway, pure-play denim brands have been freely exploring the fashion genre. Lucky Brand recently bowed a “Yellowstone” collection and tapped members of the Compton Cowboys to star in the accompanying campaign. Wrangler, Lee’s sister brand, teamed with musician Leon Bridges for a 75th anniversary collection that included Western shirts and archival ranch styles.
Highlights in the Lee x The Brooklyn Circus collection include a riff on Lee’s 101 Cowboy jacket with an embroidered back and corduroy collar, and a unisex varsity jacket with a one-of-a-kind embroidered illustration of a Black cowboy. Lee’s 1925 Cowboy jean is refreshed with indigo selvedge denim and custom hardware, while the 101B Cowboy Buckle Back jean is available in indigo and brown selvedge. The Whizit Bib Overall nods to Lee’s heritage as the first apparel brand to use zippers in clothing.
Long-sleeve tees, graphic hoodies and plaid overshirts are layering options. Printed corduroy coordinates—available in pink for women and green for men—add a pop of color in the Western palette.
“We took historically masculine designs, like the WhizIt Overall, and mixed in feminine details to create pieces that align with the collection’s overall vision,” said Nicola Mielke, Lee global director of women’s design. “Merging the past with the modern or the unexpected is what makes design interesting, which is what this capsule achieves.”
Prices range from $110-$385 except for the leather varsity jacket at $1,200. The capsule is available on Lee and The Brooklyn Circus’ websites, Lee’s owned stores in Europe and North Carolina, and at The Brooklyn Circus store in Brooklyn.
Additional global retailers include American Rag, City Workshop, Moda, End, Double5, Cultizm.com Royal Cheese, Hepcat and Arborator.
Lee’s historic past is the focus of several new initiatives. The brand launched a new vintage shopping vertical on its website called Lee Archives. It’s also planning celebrations to mark the 100th anniversary of the Cowboy pant in 2024.