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Denim Brands Turned to Nostalgia and Streetwear for Collaborations in 2020

Two minds are often greater than one, especially when it comes to collaborations in denim and streetwear.

With retailers and brands dialing back their regular product offerings in response to lockdowns and tighter budges, collaborations were often the source for newness and excitement in fashion in 2020. Collaborations are also an opportunity for tried-and-true blue jean brands to show consumers a new side, connect with a new demographic or dabble in other industries all together.

Here’s a look back at some of most memorable collaborations of 2020.

1. Tommy Jeans x A Bathing Ape

In July, Tommy Hilfiger teamed with streetwear label A Bathing Ape on a capsule collection for men featuring hats, polo shirts, T-shirts, jackets, shorts, shoes, boxers and, of course, denim. Iconic elements from both brands were included throughout, with Tommy Hilfiger’s trademark red, white and blue color palette and A Bathing Ape’s Moon Face logo and camouflage print.

2. Levi’s x Nintendo

On March 10, the date known as “Mario Day,” Levi’s dropped a men’s and women’s collection paying homage to gaming franchise Super Mario Bros. The nostalgic collection featured a Trucker jacket, hooded sweatshirt and denim sets featuring the animated character.

3. E.L.V. Denim x Swarovski

London-based denim brand E.L.V. Denim and Swarovski collaborated on an exclusive seven-piece capsule collection centered on upcycled materials. Made from 100 percent upcycled denim and upcycled crystals, the collection included a two-tone jean jacket featuring Swarovski’s Chess Board crystals as buttons; a jacket adorned with a removable curtain of 150 double-sided crystals and more.

Rivet rounded the top 10 denim collaborations of 2020, which merged numerous industries and helped brands tap into a bigger audience.
E.L.V. Denim x Swarovski Courtesy

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4. H&M x Highsnobiety

In September, H&M and Highsnobiety debuted Blank Staples, a line of elevated basics that answered the call for comfort. The collection included hoodies, T-shirts, sweatshirts and sweatpants distinguished by one key signature: a blank label.

5. Levi’s x Yosuke Aizawa

Levi’s and Yosuke Aizawa, founder and designer of outerwear company White Mountaineering, collaborated on a collection for men and women that artfully merged classic winter pieces with technical and utilitarian elements. It featured reimagined iconic Levi’s garments such as a fishtail parka, oversized cargo pants and an M65 jacket.

6. Missguided x Sean John

In the fall, Missguided and Sean John collaborated on a 114-piece women’s collection that combined Sean John’s legacy with contemporary street style and athleisure. The collection featured matching joggers and hoodies, oversized T-shirts, bike shorts, mini dresses, leggings and bodysuits in an array of classic streetwear fabrics like velour and nylon.

7. Closed x Nigel Cabourn

German denim brand Closed and British fashion designer Nigel Cabourn put their minds together on a men’s and women’s capsule collection featuring oversized fits, structured silhouettes and heritage denim pieces. The collection incorporated both brands’ trademark elements: Closed’s elevated jeanswear and Cabourn’s vintage military aesthetic.

8. Champion x Sesame Street

As residents in the U.S. remained homebound during Covid-19 lockdown, Champion dropped an upbeat, limited-edition collection of men’s, women’s and kids’ tops and bottoms with Sesame Workshop, a nonprofit organization associated with “Sesame Street.” The collection offered Champion’s signature Reverse Weave hoodies, cropped crewneck sweatshirts and joggers featuring Big Bird, Cookie Monster, Elmo, Oscar the Grouch, Bert and Ernie, Grover and The Count.

Rivet rounded the top 10 denim collaborations of 2020, which merged numerous industries and helped brands tap into a bigger audience.
Champion x Sesame Street Courtesy

9. Wrangler x Bob Marley

In honor of what would have been Bob Marley’s 75th birthday in July, Wrangler dropped a capsule collection celebrating the reggae star. The 11-piece collection featured a mix of women’s and men’s T-shirts, denim jackets with branded patchwork and unisex denim shirting.

10. Champion x General Mills

In September, Champion and General Mills launched a limited-edition capsule collection featuring popular cereals on classic Champion apparel. The line featured T-shirts, long-sleeved shirts and hoodies adorned with Lucky Charms, Wheaties, Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Honey Nut Cheerios graphics.