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2023: The Year in Collaborations

From Yayoi Kusama x LV to Palace x McDonald’s, how brands leveraged creative partnerships to explore the quirkier sides of their personalities.

WRITER: GREGORY BABCOCK VISUAL ARTIST: EAMONN FREEL
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Collaborations in 2023 looked different than they did in year's past. Less about two big names coming together to create co-branded product, 2023 was rife with brands dreaming up collabs that resonated more with the unconventional, under-explored parts of their personalities. By not being confined to working with fashion brands to produce buzzworthy partnerships, 2023’s collaborations continued a conversation that’s been percolating for at least the last few years: What is a fashion collaboration these days anyway?

Far from strangers to the idea of seasonal collaborations, streetwear icons Palace and Stüssy elevated their ubiquity through crossover partnerships with McDonalds and Levi’s, respectively. Louis Vuitton tapped into newly installed men’s creative director Pharrell’s personal network to bring in household names like Rihanna, Jay-Z and LeBron James. Even designers like Loewe’s Jonathan Anderson, Heaven’s Marc Jacobs and Ava Nirui, and Brain Dead’s Kyle Ng leveraged their personal love of Studio Ghibli animation, cult-favorite film Donnie Darko and Magic: The Gathering to launch collaborations that resonated with audiences by speaking to the designers’ own nostalgia.

As the year comes to an end, we look back at the partnerships that redefined, reframed and recontextualized collaborations in 2023. Discover our selection below and tap into the Year in Sneakers.