Levi’s and four-time Grand Slam singles champion Naomi Osaka have teamed up for a limited-edition womenswear collection constructed from vintage and upcycled denim pieces. The four-piece capsule consists of a Denim Kimono, Lace-Up Shorts, Crystal Fringe Shorts, and Trucker Jacket Bustier, all of which celebrates Osaka’s rich heritage and passion for sustainability.
“It took parts of everything that I love. I really loved wearing kimonos when I was a kid. To do it in denim, it was really amazing how they could recycle fabrics like that. For it to be repurposed and sustainable for me was really important.” said the athlete-slash-activist and true ambassador for social good. “I love that every piece in the collection has been recycled or repurposed from old stock,” she added.
Osaka worked closely with the Levi’s design team in order to concept and bring to life the collection’s distinct pieces. The Denim Kimono ($380 USD) is paired with a matching obi belt as a nod to her Japanese heritage. “[Being] able to do it in denim felt really different and a bit unexpected,” said Osaka in a press release.
The two pairs of shorts in the Naomi Osaka x Levi’s collection offer different options that feature, as the brand mentions, “silhouettes and design details that perfectly capture her unique mix of sporty and feminine.” The Lace-Up Shorts ($150 USD) are a sportier reinterpretation of classic Levi’s denim and are made from upcycled pairs of men’s jeans. The shorts are finished with a raw hem sitting right above the knee with a stylish lace-up back. The Crystal Fringe Shorts ($250 USD) feature a very short, raw hem cut and is made using vintage 501 Shorts with crystal fringe draped down the sides.
The last piece of the new collection is a denim Trucker Jacket Bustier made from reworked Levi’s Type III Trucker Jackets. The classic lines, flap pockets, and shank buttons found the brand’s iconic outerwear piece were all kept intact giving new life with a new silhouette. Similar to the Lace-Up Shorts, a lace-up back is used for the denim bustier. “I liked the idea of the bustier while I was sketching it,” said Osaka. “But I love it even more now that it’s been brought to life. It’s so cute!”
There’s no surprise to Osaka’s unique approach to her collaborations. The tennis icon has been a key Nike athlete featured in collaborative campaigns for Sacai as well as receiving her own capsules with the Swoosh and Comme des Garçons. Her role as a Sweetgreen ambassador seeks to promote a more natural, healthier eating lifestyle as an alternative to traditional fast food. Fashion, style, and being a voice for what she believes in has been an integral part to her projects as she’s someone, as the brand mentions, “whose authenticity and willingness to stand up for important causes has helped inspire millions” – even if it’s still an ongoing journey.
“I want people to know me by someone who is really honest and also someone that doesn’t really know everything but is trying to figure it out the best way they can,” said Osaka in her first partnership with Levi’s for a 501 campaign earlier this year.
Osaka’s new collaboration with Levi’s doesn’t seem farfetched either. The brand has taken note of many people who strive to use their heritage pieces as a canvas to rethink what’s possible in clothing and for the future. Design trio BentGableNits brought springtime flair to deadstock and vintage Levi’s 501 Jeans and Trucker Jackets with flowery embellishments. A group of changemakers like artist Jaden Smith, social creator Emma Chamberlain, and footballer Marcus Rashford MBE were approached by the denim experts for a “Buy Better, Wear Longer” campaign earlier this year rallying customers to be more conscientious of their purchases, and even encouraging second-hand shopping as a means to shop sustainable.
The Naomi Osaka x Levi’s Summer 2021 collection will release on August 24 on the Levi’s App (USA, UK, France), Levi.com (Japan), as well as select Levi’s stores, such as the Harajuku Store, Osaka Store, Shanghai Store, Hong Kong Store, and Fruition (Taiwan).
In other upcycling news, check out these Western Hydrodynamic Research bags made from discard boat sails.