Yes. American Eagle is partnering with Lil Wayne.
It seems like an unlikely pairing, but when you look at how the teen-focused retailer has moved over the last year, it kind of makes sense.
Go walk past its SoHo store on Broadway in New York and you might mistake the shop for a sneaker reseller—the windows are dominated by Yeezys and Jordans and other popular styles. This is thanks to a partnership with Urban Necessities, a sneaker and streetwear consignment shop based in Las Vegas that opened a store in American Eagle's SoHo space in March.
American Eagle understood early on that its customers wanted to see more people who looked like them, and now it's learning that its consumers have a growing interest in sneakers, streetwear, and even CBD—the retailer recently announced that, come October, it will sell beauty products infused with the substance.
Therefore, the Lil Wayne partnership is a sign of how the retailer's progressing or pivoting, and even he was surprised by the scope of the deal. He initially thought it was just a photo shoot, but when he saw product samples splashed with Young Money branding, he realized he was working with the No. 2 denim retailer in the U.S. on a 25-piece product line for men, which consists of tie-dye denim jackets, T-shirts, and shorts, along with distressed jeans, hoodies and boxers. The collection retails from $8 to $100 and will be available to purchase on August 10. A holiday collection with Wayne and Young Money will hit stores later in the year.
"This is authentic because American Eagle customers are the kids of America. Our customers are Gen Z, and youth culture embodies creativity, individuality, and all kids love music," says Michael Goldberg, American Eagle's creative director, who joined the team in spring 2017. "So, as an iconic artist who pushes culture forward, Wayne is the perfect fit for the American Eagle customer. We stand for individuality and self-expression, and who better to represent that than Lil Wayne?"
The fall 2019 back-to-school campaign is a fantasy homecoming, with students from all walks of life dancing while Wayne performs "Uproar," which had a viral moment last year. Watch the video above to see Wayne talk about the collaboration, the legacy of Trukfit, and the status of his next album. Check out the collection below.