It’s hard to remember now, but maybe half a decade ago, collaborations were something that only a few big streetwear and sneaker brands really did. You certainly didn’t have cooperation to the extent that we currently have.
Not that we’re complaining, necessarily. The flood of must-see teams currently saturating the market are truly cutting edge and far surpass anything that has come before in terms of scale, scope and quality.
This makes it difficult to narrow down the list of the best collaborations of 2022, but here we are. These aren’t necessarily all of our favorite partnerships, mind you, but the ones that hit the hardest, that caused the most buzz, that meant the most to a deathly nebulous “culture.”
In other words, they gave us a lot to talk about and a lot more to buy—if it was even possible to buy anything before it all sold out.
adidas x Gucci
While the list is in no particular order, it might as well start with perhaps the greatest team of the year.
adidas x Gucci was a massive multi-part event that started with runway shocks and stealth drops and ended with jaw-dropping sporty activewear, ski gear and platform sneakers.
It covered cities, headlines and celebrity wardrobes: the only way you could have missed adidas x Gucci is to live under a rock. That would be a shame because you’d be missing out on some really fun stuff.
A fitting reward for outgoing creative director Alessandro Michele, who has also delivered several other huge Gucci teams this year, including things with Palace skateboards, The North Face and Dickies workwear (!).
Dior x Birkenstock
There’s not much to say about Dior’s Birkenstock collaboration, other than that it kicks ass, and its only fault was that it wasn’t more affordable. But who would expect anything else after Diordan 1?
Dior and Birkenstock smartly avoided some of the more obvious sandal models (no Boston clogs here) and instead went with the understated Tokyo Mule alongside the basic Arizona. The results were rich, indulgent and wonderful.
Burberry x Supreme
Another year, another handful of Supreme drops. We’ve seen plenty of Nikes, some killer collectibles, and even a few twists on old favorites. And Supreme finally got their due The Simpsons episode, sort of.
But the Burberry team-up was a particularly tough mark for Supreme, fitting in with the natural appeal of the skate brand’s previous luxe-casual mixes. Louis Vuitton speaks for itself, of course, but there are also Supreme partnerships with Yohji Yamamoto, Junya Watanabe, and Pucci that translate these designers’ signature pieces to Supreme’s broad audience.
Supreme x Burberry brought together two icons of youth culture, one a streetwear classic and the other initially resistant to young fans (a lot has changed for Burberry, of course).
The subsequent collection was a fresh take on what makes Burberry so desirable to kids, placing Burberry plaid in fun, unexpected places. There was even a “secret” drop of Supreme x Burberry pajamas that were only available at the latter’s stores.
Telfar x Eastpak
You can hardly walk down the street in New York without seeing a passerby rocking one of Telfar’s bags. Unsurprisingly, veteran bag brands like what they see and want in on the action. In return, Telfar’s inimitable designs are more accessible to everyone, and in handy fabrics too.
Telfar’s collaboration with Eastpak produced three separate sale drops, each repeating the same bags, because why mess with perfection?
Nike x Jacquemus
It’s tempting to give The Swoosh its own list: Nike hits a few collective home runs pretty much every month. But his partnership with Jacquem is special.
Comprised of Air Humara apparel and sneakers, Nike x Jacquemus marks the brilliant French designer’s rise from social media phenomenon to runway darling to true cultural touchstone. Plus, the collaboration merchandise is damn beautiful, a perfect marriage of retro Nike shapes and Jacquemus’ dreamy aesthetic.
Stüssy x Dries Van Noten
Stüssy has been around for a few years now, and has only stepped up its influence on the industry in 2022. In addition to its inherently excellent inline collections, the brand has dropped plenty of new Nike sneakers and dual names with friends like CPFM and Denim Tears.
But it was Dries Van Noten’s collaboration that cemented 2022 as the year Stüssy teams reached new heights. Bonus: Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea joined the campaign.
Louis Vuitton x Nike
There are plenty of contenders for the biggest collaboration of 2022, but Louis Vuitton x Nike may take the cake, if only for sheer cultural influence.
From exploding auction records to stunning in-demand Louis Vuitton reps, Virgil Abloh’s latest sneaker giant has lived up to his legacy.
LOEWE x Studio Ghibli
What a way to start the year. The first truly outstanding collaboration of 2022 was LOEWE’s second tie-up with Studio Ghibli, bringing giant LOEWE t-shirts, sweaters, handbags and leather goods to the world Spirited away. The queues to buy were unsurprisingly huge.
Palace Skateboards x Engineered Apparel
It’s almost impossible to pick one standout Palace Skateboards collaboration from 2022. There are so many hits that they deserve their own list.
But I have a special affinity for the Palace and Engineered Garments collection, thoughtfully combining the New York label’s workwear sensibility with Palace’s cheeky skate style.
Dingyun Zhang x Moncler
Most students at Central Saint-Martins wouldn’t dream of overseeing their own high-end luxury collaboration, but Dingyun Zhang is no ordinary fashion student. While a student at CSM, Zhang consulted on YEEZY clothing and designed Birkenstock sandals.
When Zhang graduated in 2020, Moncler courted the Genius collection, which took years to complete thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. But the results — a line of winter clothing that looks more like Avatar flora than typical inflatable jackets — speak for themselves.
Tommy Jeans x Martine Rose
Although Martine Rose is still unknown, she is well-deservedly respected in the fashion industry. It’s not often a big collaboration—maybe a Nike here or a special drop there—but when Rose signs something, she goes all the way. No stone has been left unturned for her extensive collaboration with Tommy Jeans, delivering everything from remixed denim jeans (duh) to holiday-ready printed shirts.
Tiffany & Co. x MSCHF
An exceptionally clever meeting of the minds of two of the smartest collaborators in the business, cheekily riffing on the history of Tiffany trophies.
A-COLD-WALL* x Converse AEON
Indeed, A-COLD-WALL*’s chunky Converse runner is a sleeper of the year contender that quickly sold out, but despite its gorgeous shape, received little attention from footwear circles.
Dapper Dan x GAP
Not only was the DAP GAP a deft improvement on the signature GAP hoodie, Dan devised a charity bend that lent the team some real heft.
Fendi x Versace
Perhaps the first major example of luxury houses teaming up in 2022, Fendi x Versace (or Fendace if you’re interested) was really just a pairing for Kim Jones’ collaboration. It didn’t have the youthful crossover appeal of, say, Balenciaga x Gucci, but Fendace was another sign that Jones knew exactly how to make big moments by bringing big names together.
JJJound x BAPE
What do you get when you combine Canada’s leading purveyor of simple things with an Ur-Japanese streetwear brand? Of course, extremely decent sneakers and sweatpants. It went so well that JJJJound and BAPE are doing the trick again in 2023.
Cactus Plant Flea Market x McDonald’s
CPFM, one of the quietest names in all of contemporary streetwear, made one of the year’s biggest hits by teaming up with the ubiquitous American fast food purveyor. The big draw wasn’t just the accompanying clothes or toys designed at the cactus plant flea market, but also the brand: no one could stop talking about CPFM’s “Happy Meals for Adults”.