Raf Simons x Sterling Ruby
When longtime friends, designer Raf Simmons and artist Sterling Ruby, created the 2014 Raf Simons x Sterling Ruby collab, fashion and art became synonymous. The creation of this collaboration, the self proclaimed “child” of both creators, was rooted in the idea that the collaboration would be one in the usual sense, where a designer hires an artist for T-shirt design, but a fully collaborative collection. With the silhouettes and proportions iconic to Simons, in combination with the organic chaos of Ruby’s art, this particular collab has become special pieces in the wardrobes of pro athletes, seen on James Harden. Although it may take an experienced fashion pro to sport these pieces, the Raf Simons x Sterling Ruby collaboration became very popular among style conscious athletes everywhere.
Reebok x Victoria Beckham
With the relaxed attitude of streetwear and technical performance of sportswear, the Reebok x Victoria Beckham collaboration became a style staple for pro athletes. Much of this Spring/Summer 2019 collection is unisex, as seen on former Laker Shaquile O’Neal, including a new sneaker. David Beckam, Victoria Beckham’s husband, career on the soccer field served as an inspiration behind the line’s function and fit. With great compression and comfort, as well as a unique design, this collab is essential to any athlete. Victoria Beckam, an avid at-home athlete herself, claims, each product she launches is something she needed in her own life, and it is apparent in her design of this collection.
Yeezy x Adidas
In 2015, the Yeezy x Adidas by Kayne West collaboration made a huge impact on sneaker culture, and the industry as a whole. The iconic and unique look of the Yeezy boost 350 is recognizable across the world. As this collaboration expanded, Yeezy x Adidas held a fashion show at New York fashion week and expanded their apparel. Many pro athletes attended this fashion show and it has become an essential in any pro athletes wardrobe ever since, even making an appearance on the NFL field in the form of cleats. Minnesota Vikings cornerback Mike Hughes sports the Yeezy Boost 700, another shoe in the collaboration that has gained loyalty amongst athletes. The unique style of this collaboration merged the gap between streetwear and atheleaiser, creating the ultimate locker.
Supreme x Louis Vuitton
The Supreme x Louis Vuitton collaboration was a perfect fusion of streetwear and luxury fashion. The New York-based skatewear brand, Supreme, has dominated the streetwear, hypebeast market with undeniably loyal customers. Despite Louis Vuitton having a similar loyal base, the collaboration was previously canceled for production before its official launch in 2017, making the pieces that were sold extremely rare. The rarity and celebrity following has heightened the hype around this collaboration. Adding to this hype, the collab relied heavily on logo branding, combining the traditional Louis Vuitton Logo with the bright red supreme signature. This print has been seen everywhere, from Drew Brees’ cleats and to even Odell Bekcham Jr.’s cast. From its rare pieces to its pro athlete following, the Supreme x Louis Vuitton collaboration earns its title as the “hype-ist” collaboration of the century.
Off-White x Nike
There have been many Off-White x Nike collaborations, each just as iconic as the last. Virgil Abloh, designer of Off-White and a devoted fan of Michael Jordan, made the perfect collaborator with Nike. Abloh redesigned ten different models of Nike sneakers for his The Ten project, including the Air Max, Air Jordan, Blazer and VaporMax. Reinventing these classic styles with Off-White’s avant-garde style and 90’s influences, these 10 sneakers have quickly become collectors items among pro athletes. Seen on Golden State pro Draymond Green on the court, this collaboration has an option for any occasion.
Dior x KAWS
Debuting in 2018, the collaboration between street artist KAWS and luxury fashion brand Dior, has created two undeniably unique collections and designed a sneaker that would become an essential in many athletes’ wardrobes, including Oklahoma City Thunder pro Hamidou Diallo. The moment the collaboration debuted the Dior B23 High Top, it became one of the most popular shoes of the year. The sneaker features Dior’s massive, eye-catching print framed by a translucent structure, and finished with KAWS recognizable bee graphic. By combining this luxury brand with an artistic creative, the collaboration features many visually unique pieces with a casual and classic fit and function. This collaboration is Dior’s nod to the highly trendy and successful streetwear inspired collections of luxury brands and pro athletes alike continue to sport it.
Serena Williams x Off-White x Nike
At the 2018 US Open, Serena Williams unveiled the Serena Williams x Off-White x Nike collaboration to the world. This collab featured a performance tennis dress, a bag, a jacket and three sneaker styles inspired by the gracefulness within tennis. The tutu-like tennis dress is resemblant of a ballerina, paying homage to Williams’ love for dance. Designer Virgil Abloh’s intent with this design was specific, explaining that he tried to embody Williams’ spirit and bring something compelling and fresh to tennis. This collaboration accomplished its intent and will remain an iconic moment in fashion and tennis history.
Versace X Kith
Both with a similar aesthetic and values, the Versace X Kith collaboration in 2019 was a no brainer. Kith, being a sportswear brand, has always used unique textures, patterns, and fits and has been transitioning into the luxury industry in recent years. Versace began reinventing their menswear lines at the time of the collab, trending towards more oversized, sportswear style looks. With this collaboration, both brands were able to incorporate their central design ideas to create a line that spans menswear, womenswear, accessories, sneakers, and sunglasses using luxury fabrics and bold prints not previously seen in athleisure. This collection has been worn both on and off the court, Lebron James seen sporting Versace X Kith shorts at practice, because the pros resonate with its effortlessly cool, streetwear style.
Air Jordan x High OG Dior
Halted in production by the coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 Air Jordan x High OG Dior collaboration gains anticipation the longer we wait for the drop. This sneaker was first revealed at Dior pre-fall 2020 show during Art Basel in Miami Beach, Florida, quickly making fashion news. Although production has been halted, there have been pro athletes who have gotten their hands on them despite this, such as Kylian Mbappe, seen here flexing the rare sneakers. With anticipation building due to the rarity of the Air Jordan x High OG Dior collab, anticipation is also building on the price point, the sneaker rumoring to be one of the most expensive on the market to date. Even at a steep price point, you can bet you will see these sneakers circulate throughout pro athletes wardrobes, whether the collab is officially released or not.
Gucci x Dapper Dan
Over a decade ago, legendary Harlem, New York couturier Dapper Dan started using Gucci prints in his own unique designs in the ‘80’s. After many strives and lawsuits over using these prints, Gucci realized Dan’s talent and vision were an asset and collaborated with him. The Gucci x Dapper Dan 2018 collaboration has and will continue to have a large impact on the merger of streetwear culture and luxury brands as well as the fashion industry as a whole. Looking back on custom pieces from his ‘80’s archive, Dapper Dan designed a collection of apparel, footwear, eyewear, leather bags, and more. Many players who know Dapper Dan’s story and were fans of his original work remained loyal and sported this collaboration as well, such as Jalen Ramsey. With the combination of Dapper Dans Harlem spirit and Gucci’s Italian roots, pro athletes continue to wear this collaboration due to its back story and streetwear luxury.