Fashion collabs can often be a balancing act. When scarcity and exclusivity are in play, they can be massive in promoting a brand across the fashion press, social media, and beyond – five years after the wildly successful Jordan x Off White went to market, Sports Illustrated are still more interested in Travis Kelce’s sneakers than they are his dating the planet’s premier popstress. However, mass market manoeuvres can be more risky.
For every KAWS x Uniqlo that flew out of stores to instantly hit the resale market at multiple times MSRP, there’s an Adidas x Stella McCartney, where pieces are languishing on the Adidas eBay outlet with discounts of over 60% at the time of writing.
One collection that’s caught the eye recently, though, is that from the alliance of performance sports brand Oakley and Saturdays NYC, the New York apparel brand that specialises in classic basics with an emphasis on tailoring. Let’s take a look.
Who are Oakley?
Established in 1975 and originally selling parts for motocross bikes, Oakley diverged into eyewear in the early 1980s. It’s still what they’re most known for, and you’ll see their sunglasses adorning athletes like Kylian Mbappe and ‘fastest Mum in the world’ Rachel Atherton.
Oakley prides itself on innovation; their O-Frame ski goggles launched in the 1980s were made of stronger, more high-impact materials than anything else on the market and became an instant hit. Founder Jim Jannard bought the world’s second-ever 3D printer – the first went to NASA – to develop the frames that became the Oakley Eye Jackets in 1994. Style-wise, they lean toward the ostentatious. The pictured Kato models look to be straight from a sci-fi movie.
Who are Saturdays NYC?
Launched in Manhattan in 2009, Saturdays NYC originally looked to pay homage to surf culture. While they’ve broadened their horizons and now specialise in classic menswear, the company still makes board shorts and has two stores in Australia, the spiritual home of surfing. In 2021, they launched their first womenswear line. With clothing made in Europe, they offer higher-end quality in a mid-range price bracket. While Saturdays NYC doesn’t currently have a British brick-and-mortar outlet, their minimalist, understated vibe should chime instantly with fans of French label A.P.C.
This is a collab that works for both parties. While they ostensibly make similar pieces, there’s a culture clash between their typical audiences. Oakley’s shades are pitched for those on the slopes of Park City rather than the beaches of Portugal, where Saturdays NYC manufactures their clothing. The Hydra shades in the collection have been highlighted, with bright colours of the Oakley Prizm lenses bringing a splash of flamboyance to Saturdays NYC’s otherwise classically retro range of eyewear.
Saturdays NYC makes their influence felt on the Ditch hoodie in a monochromatic black and white that stands apart from the graphic prints of Oakley’s main line of hoodies.
The reverse is true on the standard short-sleeve tee, available in a pastel tie-dye that brings Oakley’s boho style over the bold block single colours of Saturdays NYC’s line of tees. The vibrant colours of the Timothy swim shorts suggest a SoCal sunset versus the originals’ pinstriped preppy pool in the Hamptons look.
In short – or shorts – this collaboration should be warmly received. With prices ranging from $59 (£48) for basic tees to $213 (£178) for the aforementioned Prizm-lensed sunglasses, it sits exactly where both those lines would market ‘standard’ pieces. As winter draws in, our thoughts may drift towards a Christmas city break in the Big Apple or a Californian escape from the cold. Have both.