In years past, the term “collaboration” has been mixed up with a broad range of projects that do not fully do justice to the true nature of a beneficial co-op venture. While many of us eat up the joining of two T-shirt brands, 2013 certainly brought us a few projects that broke the mold more than others. Rather than collaborating for the sake of collaborating, the names below found common ground and built a strong release through meshing two separate markets together.
Palace x Reebok
Affectionately referred to as the Supreme of London, Palace’s ever-growing fan base certainly relished in this limited edition sneaker alongside Reebok. The two British labels churned out two clean colorways that were sold at select locations. A testament to the collaboration’s success was witnessed when the duo announced a second installment with new colorways.
Stussy x mastermind JAPAN
This collection is of particular importance due to the fact that mastermind JAPAN is disbanding next year. If you got your hands on one of the pieces from this collection, lucky you. mastermind has been picky about collaborative partners in recent seasons, choosing only the most relevant and influential names to co-sign.
Maison Martin Margiela x Converse
Converse’s drop with Margiela was one of the year’s biggest hits for those able to get their hands on a pair. Almost a collaboration that was too good to be true, Margiela dunked low and high editions of the Chuck Taylor into white paint that would slowly crack and split over time. This was nothing short of an amazing partnership between two dissimilar names.
Damien Hirst x Alexander McQueen
Alexander McQueen called upon controversial artist Damien Hirst for their latest collaboration. Cleverly reworking the British label’s iconic skull motif, Hirst applied designs from his “Entomology” series featuring butterflies and smaller insects. The grim design infused with colorful, lively creatures proved to be one of the year’s best collaborations across the clothing, sneaker and lifestyle spectrums.
adidas x Raf Simons
This team-up exemplified another plane of sportswear being increasingly popular in the fashion sphere. Of course, Raf was one of the first to do it and while these sneakers probably took some by surprise at first, they are surely a precursor of sportswear making an even bigger impact in fashion in the future.
M.I.A. x Versace
This year, Versace’s sister label Versus reached out to M.I.A. to design a collection. Partly inspired by knock-off Versace prints, the release embodied a fresh take on some of the infamous bootleg gear that has surfaced in the past, largely characterized by loud prints.
Supreme x Vans “Power, Corruption & Lies”
Surely one of the most sought-after drops of the year, Supreme’s spring drop delivered the “Power, Corruption & Lies” series. Three separate styles were included from Vans, as well as a selection of gear, all decorated with a heat floral print that left many wishing they had lined up.
adidas Originals x Tom Dixon
Only good things can result from a partnership between an industrial designer such as Tom Dixon and adidas Originals. The smart and sleek collection emphasized function, with reversible, collapsible and convertible items featured throughout, all tied together by an ultra-minimalist approach.
Hudson’s Bay Company x Converse
The Bay stepped its game up heavy with this collaboration, which brought us two styles from Converse painted in the Bay’s signature striped colorway. The other awesome thing about this release was that it wasn’t super limited – fans could simply drop by the Bay and grab a pair.
Phillip Lim x Target
Phillip Lim’s usually inaccessible designs could be found in mega-retailer Target this year when the designer agreed to creating exclusive collaborative men’s and women’s lines. Taking his signature aesthetic and applying it to this project, it shows us that the intersection of a niche designer and a large corporation can often be intriguing.
Sneaker Freaker x PUMA “Sharkbait”
Australia’s Sneaker Freaker has been fond of reworking PUMAs for a minute now and this year’s “Sharkbait” was no exception. Featuring a premium leather and mesh upper in a striking turquoise shade, the collaborative sneaker acted as a proper successor to the duo’s “Blaze of Glory” and reinforced PUMA’s small yet unique position in the sneaker world.
Drake x Jordan Brand
The OVO Air Jordan X was hinted at by Drake this year, under the moniker of the “OVO Stingray Pack.” An all-white edition was first teased, while a black version is rumored to accompany. Judging by Drake’s Instagram, the kicks he posted were samples, indicating there could be an official drop in the near future. Nonetheless, this is an interesting collaboration worthy of mention.
MR PORTER x Acne
Not only does the MR PORTER catalog offer some of the best and highly-regarded designers, but the mega-retailer often collaborates with brands for exclusive collections. As such, Acne provided a slew of gear ranging from dinner jackets to T-shirts, all of which was quite dope.
Norse Projects x Kvadrat x Vans “Stoflighed Pack”
The Norse crew continued to hone their tenacity for functionality with this drop. The Danes smartly tapped textile manufacturer Kvadrat – which commonly provided upholstery for Danish mid-century furniture – for two ultra durable fabrics, then injected them into a Vans Chukka and Vans Era.
A.P.C. x KANYE
This collaboration definitely received hate, however, it still deserves mention on some level. No, it didn’t shatter pre-conceived notions of design, but it still brought together two divergent entities to flesh out the idea of hip-hop flavored fashion in a tasteful way.
size? x Nike Air Max 93
In 2013, the UK’s size? proved to be one of the premier destination for rare Nike releases. In light of this, the shop was given the exclusive opportunity to stock some of the brand’s most iconic silhouettes in arresting colorways. A highlight among this year’s releases were the sneakers included in the “Bright Teal” pack. Comprised of an Air Max 93 and Air Huarache, the collaboration cemented the retro pairs as timeless classics.
Patagonia x New Belgium Beer
Sustainable brewery New Belgium Beer shook hands with Patagonia for this drinkable collaboration, arriving as a limited edition lager. As the Patagonia crew had been cracking cans of New Belgium Beer for quite some time, the choice to make an official collab was natural.
CNCPTS x New Balance 998
CNCPTS has a longstanding history of realizing some of the best-looking collaborative sneakers around. Always centered around distinct stylistic cues, this time the Boston-based boutique turned to the new American $100 bill, tagging a 998 with tones of dark green, vintage yellow, blue and white.
Been Trill x PacSun
Easily one of the most contentious brands of the year, Been Trill’s entry into the mass market couldn’t have been done without American mall staple PacSun. Featuring the brand’s signature hashtag designs, the collaboration helped fuel this year’s debate on design versus hype. Love it or hate it, Been Trill was nearly impossible to avoid in 2013.
DSM NY x Nike
The opening of Dover Street Market in New York was a moment of inflection during the year. The iconic retailer cooked up a set of collaborative items for the grand opening, including a crazy Air Python model with Nike. Murdered-out python-embossed leather adorns the upper, with reflective detailing rounding out this pair.