Supreme who? We only wear LL Bean Box Logos, thanks. BEAMS has brought these brilliantly retro basics to life as part of its latest LL Bean collaboration and, as good as they are, they pale in comparison to the excellent elderly models.
BEAMS revealed its Spring/Summer 2023 LL Bean collaboration on April 12 with a campaign starring two aged folks who, frankly, make the quietly cool clothing look just that much better.
Part of a larger collaborative affair between LL Bean Japan and BEAMS sub-labels BEAMS PLUS (mainline menswear) and BEAMS BOY (confusingly-named womenswear line), the new collection does indeed include LL Bean BOGO T-shirts, hats, and hoodies, all purportedly based on archival LL Bean designs (why it isn’t called LL BEAMS is beyond me).
In fact, the entire collection, which includes granddad-friendly checkered shirts and preppy shorts embroidered with dancin’ dogs, itself looks quite dated (in a good way). It looks like the sort of clothes that you could probably thrift if you were lucky enough, which is LL Bean at its best IMO.
In a press release, BEAMS says that the seasonal LL Bean capsule is shaped by the concept of “daily wear with a little more flair,” which is kinda generic but, again, also pretty apt for LL Bean as a brand. Everything drops April 15 via BEAMS’ website and Japanese stores.
BEAMS has already remixed LL Bean’s signature Gumshoe Boots (AKA the Bean Boot) and Boat n’ Tote bags, which remain an object of inspiration and fascination throughout Americana-obsessed Japan.
Really, the LL Bean Boat n’ Totes are a crossover success in plenty of stylistic arenas. For instance, New York’s downtown cool kids (the Nolita Dirtbags, if you will) have reclaimed LL Bean’s classic giant bag for themselves, demonstrative of its natural synergy within the greater sphere of post-workwear flexing (read: vintage flannel shirts, Carhartt double-knees).
LL Bean is mostly fashion-averse, however, aside from a few collaborations and promotions — it even shut down opportunists trying to make a fashion moment out of its embroidered backpacks just last year. Still, it knows that people love its old stuff, so much so that LL Bean recently revived a selection of vintage gear back in 2021.
BEAMS, meanwhile, is top of the game. Its current crop of killer collaborations, LL Bean aside, includes Arc’teryx, Salomon, New Era, and many more.