If you’re a fan of Lee, then you’ll know that the brand was a staple in New York City’s Hip-Hop Scene in in the 80s. This cultural connection made it the perfect match for NYC streetwear label and store Alife and Lee, who are celebrating their 20th and 130th anniversaries, respectively, by releasing a co-branded capsule collection for F/W 19.

“As a kid, my friends and I would frequent our local Army & 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. As a teen growing up in New York during the B-boy/Breakdancing era of the 80’s, 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 1980’s history of New York.” – Rob Cristofaro, Founder, Alife

Inspired by archival moments such as Lee’s patenting of the Union-Alls jumpsuit more than 100 years ago, this multi-denim piece capsule highlights heritage styles through ALife’s streetwear lens.

“The collaboration between Lee and one of the original NYC street culture brands is a terrific match,” says Chris Waldeck, Global President, Lee.  “Alife has such a strong reputation for being in touch with the roots of downtown style, and the intent of unique Americana at its most authentic is exactly what we’re excited to deliver. The Lee® x ALIFE collection is a limited-edition model designed for collectors, aficionados, and trend setters.”

One of the special parts of the collection is the inclusion of the last selvedge denim mills in the United States, the Cone Mills White Oak Plant, which permanently closed in 2017. For more than 120 years Cone Denim defined American denim and authenticity with the White Oak mill representing the essence of Cone’s heritage. The selvedge from Cone was championed for its unique character that was woven on vintage Draper X-3 shuttle-looms. Lee, who have recently relocated their head office to Greensboro where White Oak was originally based was one of the longstanding brands working with the iconic mill.

For the collection the two brands have created a number of standout styles that include the Regular Tapered Corduroy Jean and Jacket which features an allover print, Regular Tapered Selvedge Denim Jean and Jacket with novelty branding and a tribute to Lee’s iconic mascot ‘Buddy Lee’ with prints of the character on tees and hoodies.

The collection will be available in-store at Alife Rivington Club (158 Rivington St., New York, NY 10002) as well as on alifenewyork.com and lee.com the first week of October. 

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Denim trend consultant, owner of @samutaro