As luxury streetwear and sneaker culture have risen to dominate the fashion industry over the past fifteen years, so have fashion collaborations. From Adidas x Pharrell to Nike x KAWS to Louis Vuitton x Jeff Koons, it seems like there are few popular designers and artists who aren’t in on the action. Yet, while artists and designers have teamed up to produce commercially sold garments for nearly a century, both the artistic processes behind, and the products of, collaborations have drastically changed. For much of the twentieth century, partnerships between designers and artists were grounded in inspiration, experimentation and mutual admiration, but, as social media has expanded the idea of branding from companies to individuals, artists have increasingly marketed themselves as brands, resulting in twenty-first century collaborations that frequently operate as co-branding projects meant to create hype, expand audiences and solidify reputations.

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