He may not have been your teddy bear, but whenever you felt gloomy back in elementary school Mickey Mouse was always there to cheer you up. Either he was being all cute and educational on Clubhouse Disney or introducing you to the magic of animation as Steamboat Willie before one of those classic feature presentations. For generations of children stretching all the way back to the 1920s, Mickey Mouse and Disney have been the gatekeepers for a whole world of imagination and discovery. It seems only fitting that after such a personal connection to all that magic fashion designers would want to try and capture the iconic wonder of Walt Disney’s creations in wearable form. Like any enduring entertainment collaboration, some designs turned out much better than others, but no matter what failures it faces, the legacy of Disney, Mickey, and fashion seems destined to continue. Here are the best things it’s produced so far.
DISNEY x THE HUNDREDS
It took months of creative conversation for Los Angeles-based brand The Hundreds to convince Disney that The Lost Boys from Peter Pan could wear hoodies and sunglasses to represent Cali youth culture. When the deal finally went through, it gave us one of the most innovative Disney fashion collaborations to ever make it onto high street.
DISNEY x VANS
Fashion has proven again and again that simple designs win the day. Vans knew this lesson well and went into their 2010 collaboration with Disney with a very straightforward plan. Mickey Mouse smashing a guitar and the slogan: “When things get tough, Mickey Mouse goes into action!” Bold and clear, the idea sold and new Mickey-printed Sk8-Hi’s were out in mere months.
DISNEY x STUSSY
Stussy dared to ask a question no other brand had even considered before. Do we have to feature Mickey Mouse and the Disney logo to collaborate with the entertainment company? Turns out, this label didn’t want everyone’s favorite mouse but one of Walt Disney’s original characters from the silent era, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. In a rare change to protocol, Disney gave permission and Oswald finally had his day in the modern spotlight.
DISNEY x BLACK COMME DES GARÇONS
Minimalist and stark, the stacked mouse heads from this fashion collaboration had an eerie hipster effect. Very much a runway-worthy graphic tee, these shirts are still popular today. If you find one in a local thrift store, make sure your wear it or sell it at the right price. Comme des Garçons may only have debuted the collection in 2011, but value rises fast these days.
DISNEY x NEFF
Realistic florals were just becoming a thing when Neff proposed they superimpose Mickey Mouse’s classic look from 1928 on their unique men’s tee. The rest, as they say, is history. Disney didn’t become as viral as florals in the coming years, but they can say they had a part in building the colorful blossom craze we see today.
MINNIE MOUSE STILETTOS
Mickey Mouse should step aside and let Minnie have her moment in the spotlight too. Proving from her impressive collection with famed shoe designer Oscar Tiye, the mouse has excellent fashion and glam sense. Maybe Mickey could even learn a thing or two.
There have been many more Disney fashion collaborations, but none quite measure to these unique partnerships. Whether resurrecting old characters or modernizing classic ones, Disney is a strong voice for imagination in the fashion industry. In a world full of social media and virtual reality, an authentic touch can go a long way.
— Timothy Vest