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Driven by memories of his older Mexican cousins wearing Champion tees and shorts when he visited them in the 1970s, Rick Owens reimagined its sportswear as togas, loincloths and briefs, while using a monochrome version of its iconic logo on a capsule collection of T-shirts, sweatshirts and windbreakers for his first collaborative capsule with the American athletic heritage brand that debuted during his spring/summer 20 men’s show. It was a collaboration that encapsulated the past, present and future of Rick Owens. Fast-forward to spring/summer 21 and Rick has further weaved his history, aesthetics and evolving philosophies with Champion’s, while introducing conscious concerns.
“When I started my label in the nineties, I hand drew my logo as a cross between the Champion logo and a Jean Patou perfume label,” Rick explained back in June 2019, remembering early memories of his older cousins wearing Champion and cementing the logo in his brain. “They both had a similar vintage calligraphic flair… I wasn’t conscious of it then, but I see now how that balance has defined my ongoing aesthetic – a 1930s black and white movie version of both American uniform utility and European glam.”
“I JUST MIGHT BE LEANING INTO A TASTE FOR THE LURID THAT AN UNDERCURRENT OF THREAT AND DREAD CAN INSPIRE,” Rick Owens explained in trademark uppercase within the show notes that accompanied his spring/summer 21 show, Phlegethon. For those of you who need to brush up on Ancient Greek mythology, Phlegethon is one of the five rivers of the underworld. is one of the five rivers of the underworld. Filled with biblical, historical and sociopolitical references, Rick’s collections are so much more than clothes, they provide philosophies to make sense of the world today. The shows are more than just a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it model march, they are experiences of subversion, resistance, strength and creative power. The designs are armour in the fight for a better world. The on-going partnership with Champion provides the first few layers.
As expected with a Rick Owens collaboration, the Champion and Rick Owens spring/summer 21 capsule elevates the everyday and pushes the familiar into the realms of the otherworldly. As Rick reimagines iconic Champion active and casualwear products, the collaboration not only uses 100% organic cottons and recycled nylons, but is produced using predominantly locally sourced materials, while all packaging will incorporate plastic free, biodegradable materials and recycled paper.
“It’s about responsibility,” Rick recently explained during an interview with Hypebeast. “The fashion world can be so much about entitlement, but the idea of being grateful for what you’ve got, and trying to make the best of things, that’s a message I’ve been pushing a lot; thinking more responsibly and less gluttonously. I like that.” All of us at LN-CC like that too.