Still Shopping for the Art and Fashion Lovers in Your Life? Check Out This Chic Museum Merch (Think The Met x Brother Vellies)
On the third day of Artmas, we bring you the best of the season's hottest trend: collaborations between museum stores and fashion brands.
Welcome to The 12 Days of Artmas, our new, non-denominational holiday extravaganza—an advent calendar with gift ideas and stories for art lovers of all stripes, dropping daily through December 24.
When you hear the words “museum gift shop,” what likely comes to mind is an array of overpriced Georges Seurat magnets and Gustav Klimt postcards, maybe an Andy Warhol pencil sharpener for good measure. But these days, more and more art institutions are collaborating with fashion brands to introduce curated merchandise that is actually highly covetable.
From cult favorites like Brother Vellies to larger luxury houses such as Moschino, here are five museum-designer collabs and their coolest merch.
Who: Lingua Franca (LF) is one of New York City’s most beloved small businesses that makes a difference, along with some really cute cashmere sweaters. LF employs local women to embroider its pieces with cheeky phrases, paying them a living wage while donating a portion of the proceeds to charity. To date, it has raised more than one million dollars for organizations including the American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood.
What: In response to customer request, the Whitney Museum store is partnering with Lingua Franca for the fourth time, with their latest offering inspired by the works of Christine Sun Kim. The “
HEAR LISTEN” sweatshirt underscores the artist’s focuses on the ways we communicate; its message is embroidered in Kim’s own handwriting.
How much: $160 ($144 for members) for the cotton sweatshirt; $300 for the cashmere version.
Who: This exclusive collection from the Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met) with Brother Vellies came out of the Met Costume Institute’s two-part exhibition devoted to American fashion. Founder Aurora James—who started the 15 percent pledge and graced the cover of Vogue’s September 2020 issue in a portrait painted by Jordan Casteel—began the Brooklyn-based luxury accessories brand in 2013 to help keep traditional African design practices alive while employing local artisans. (Talk about a match made in art-historical heaven.)
What: The capsule collection (available only through the Met’s Instagram shop) features sweatshirts and t-shirts embossed with the words “American As Me,” plus basket-woven handbags and upcycled denim shirts celebrating American fashion in all its glory.
How much: From $55 for a t-shirt to $350 for a handbag.
Who: The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) currently holds no less than 19 works by Comme des Garçons (CdG) and its founder, Rei Kawakubo. Kawakubo, who was the subject of The Met Costume Institute’s spring 2017 exhibition, introduced an avant-garde style focused on the “in betweenness” between boundaries; her seemingly impossible-to-wear garments have become de rigueur on the red carpet and beyond.
What: The CdG wallets are available in a red-and-green tartan (how festive!), which is one of Kawakubo’s favorite prints, while its small leather pouches come in solid dark green and black.
How much: $207 ($186.30 for members).
Who: Calling all film buffs! If you haven’t made it to the recently opened Academy Museum in Los Angeles, you can still take home some of the cinematic magic with a selection of goodies from the Academy Museum Store. One of the highlights is a capsule collection designed by Moschino frontman Jeremy Scott, who collaborated with Oscar-winning costume designer Arianne Phillips to bring aspects of The Wizard of Oz to life.
What: The oh-so-luxe Ruby Slipper Sequin Bag is the perfect sparkly accessory to elevate any girl’s ensemble.
How much: $480.
Who: Two California classics—Vans and L.A.’s Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)—have come together once again to feature designs by three artists on classic Vans styles. Details from the works of Judy Baca, Frances Stark, and Brenna Youngblood are emblazoned on Vans Authentic, Old Skool, and and SK8-HI styles.
What: A panel from Judith F. Baca’s mural The World Wall: A Vision of the Future Without Fear (1990-2014), a design inspired by a still from Frances Stark’s Poets on the Pyre III (2015), and Brenna Youngblood’s Democratic Dollar (2015) will kick your kicks up a notch.
How much: $70 to $90, depending on the style.
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