Lee has over 130 years of archived designs to mine for inspiration, but it’s particularly hard to fault them for leaning into their ‘80s catalog and digging out some Jamel Shabazz-worthy reference points for their latest collection.
And it’s even harder to fault them for bringing back Shabazz—the legendary ‘80s street-style photographer behind Back in the Day—to shoot a campaign in Brooklyn inspired by his seminal work. Also, because it’s the same dude behind some of the most important early hip hop photos, it avoids feeling derivative, which is nice.
Utilizing almost the same exact locations and Brooklyn backdrops featured in Back in the Day, the campaign prominently features both the borough and modern updates on the myriad Lee’s designs that went into the ‘80s uniform.
If you’re into washed out denim, lived-in tees and classic ‘80s silhouettes, this is your thing. But if you’re a person with eyes, a pulse and even the most baseline affinity for people getting photographed in cities, you should be into the fact that Shabazz was behind this one, and that the endeavor is getting made into a limited-run book.
Oh yeah, there’s a book. Yes, the lede was buried. It comes out at some point, and you can probably find it at Lee.