Tremaine Emory, the man behind Denim Tears, is a multi-hyphenate talent. Artist, musician, fashion designer,  nightlife curator – his creativity knows no boundaries. But while he may travel many lanes in his creative pursuits, at core he is a storyteller. And for his newest Levi’s® x Denim Tears collaboration – part of a two-year partnership – he’s continuing to viscerally explore America’s checkered past with race and injustice, as well as fashion’s intersection with the history of the African Diaspora in America. And he’s doing it within an artistic framework he’s calling  “conceptual conceptualism.” 

Featuring colours and graphic patterns meant to express what Emory calls a visual mnemonic, the collection examines the story of the Gullah Geechee people – descendants of Africans who were enslaved on the plantations of the lower  American Atlantic coast. Known for its production of indigo, that region had a large slave population during the 18th  century thanks mainly to the British demand for indigo-dyed workwear – at the time, the U.K. was the largest importer of indigo-dyed fabric.

For this collection, Emory has re-contextualized the history of the Gullah Geechee, creating an  8-piece capsule collection that focuses on embracing the culture, history, and experiences of these enduring people.  The element of the collection – which includes a signature Denim Tears Plantation Hat, a Levi’s® Type II Trucker,  and a Levi’s® 501® Jean – focuses on the unrelenting indigo dyeing process that the Gullah slaves were forced to endure.

Featuring an all-over print of indigo hands on white denim, each piece is meant to symbolize the way a  slave’s hands would turn blue while working with the indigo dye. Along with this, the colour scheme of the collection also offers a homage to the colour-coded cues taken from the Kofa Mata Dye pits in Kano, Nigeria, known for its indigo dyeing since the 15th century.

Co-branded elements include a special Red Tab featuring “Tears” on the back of the Tab, with “Levi’s®” stitched in white on the front, as well as a special Levi’s® x Denim Tears backpatch combining the classic Two-Horse pull logo along with “Denim Tears” floral print logo. 

The Levi’s® x Denim Tears Season 2 collection is available for purchase exclusively on now.  

By Surabhi Pandey

Surabhi Pandey, a former Delhi Doordarshan presenter, is a journalist currently based in Singapore. She is the author of ‘Nascent Wings’ and ‘Saturated Agitation’ and has contributed to over 15 anthologies in English and Hindi in India and Singapore. She writes on topics related to lifestyle and travel and is an active reporter on the tech startup ecosystem in Southeast Asia. She is the editor and founder of The Vent Machine.

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