Just days after his much-publicized split from Supreme, Tremaine Emory has lifted the lid on some major moves for Denim Tears, the label he founded in 2019. Today, Emory has unveiled in full the third blockbuster Denim Tears x Levi’s collection, and announced plans to open his brand’s inaugural brick-and-mortar flagship in New York, which he’ll preview via a one-day pop-up for the new collab this Saturday, September 9.
Last week, the fashion world was rocked by the news that Emory had left his post at Supreme following an 18-month reign as the streetwear giant’s first-ever creative director. In a letter to his colleagues shared by Emory with Vogue Business, the designer explained that his resignation was prompted by the cancellation of a collaboration between Supreme and the artist Arthur Jafa, and his subsequent belief that “systemic racism was at play within the structure of Supreme.”
This new Denim Tears x Levi’s collection, meanwhile, is a riveting ode to Black biker culture, heavily influenced by photographer Martin Dixon’s 2000 book Brooklyn Kings: New York City’s Black Bikers. “I have had a fascination with black bike culture for as long as I can remember,” Emory said in a statement about the collaboration. “There is an outsider sense, a danger, a pride, a respect, a commitment to freedom and a defiance against conforming to a polite doctrine.”
The line includes all-leather versions of the Type 3 jacket and 501 jeans that have highlighted past Denim Tears x Levi’s capsules—printed with the brand’s signature cotton wreath graphic—which Emory devised as an ode to iconic leather wearers like Miles Davis and Sly Stone: “Powerful characters in almost vulgar displays of achievement.” There’s also a leather vest adorned with a bold King Tut portrait which, Emory said, “just evoked, perfectly, the mythical, heroic and fantastic otherness that forms the biker identity.” The collection, which ranges in price from $50 to $900, is rounded out by a strikingly embroidered western denim shirt and jeans, a matching denim hat, a badass leather belt, a graphic tee, and a rucksack.
In lieu of regular models, the collaboration’s lookbook stars members of the Black biker community. “We shot them in the places that they live their lives,” Emory said. “This was done as much out of respect for these people as it was to capture a rawness.”