He’s spent close to 70 years as one of country music’s most recognised and influential names, and as Willie Nelson nears his ninth decade, he’s added another feather to his illustrious cap; teaming up with Southern Californian lifestyle brand Brixton for a new clothing line.
Fittingly-dubbed the Willie Nelson Collection, the new collaboration features a range of graphic tees, hats, bandanas, and cut & sew apparel (including the likes of denim shirts and overalls), all adorned with imagery related to the iconic artist.
As Brixton say, the new collection is both a nod to classic ’70s-era Americana and the company’s own roots. Combining their heritage style with what they describe as “lived-in washes and vintage western details”, the range pays tribute to the country legend, not just through its appearance, but by the lifestyle it promotes. As they explain, it’s all about bringing the “Willie way of life” to a new generation, celebrating the notion of hitting the open road, playing by your own rules, and making memories worth writing a song about.
This isn’t the first time that Brixton have partnered with the world of music, having teamed up with the legendary Fender brand in the past. But when it comes to teaming up with individual musicians, Nelson is their first cab off the rank. In fact, Brixton said that he was the first person that came to mind, namely due to his status as a “quintessentially American icon”.
“We’re honoured to bring the spirit of Willie Nelson to a whole new, music-obsessed generation and to do so through the lens of Brixton’s Americana focus,” Brixton CEO Raphael Peck said in a statement. “His undeniable impact on music and culture continues to be felt today.”
But what is it that’s made Willie Nelson such an iconic figure whose legacy and influence transcend the world of music? After all, there’s a good chance that his very name evokes imagery and memories that aren’t even related to his recorded work. But that’s exactly why Brixton have teamed up with Nelson for this collaboration, proving that while his music and compositions are critically-acclaimed, his legacy and influence traverses boundaries and unites in ways never before imagined.
It was back in the mid-’50s when Nelson first formally entered the world of music, having been writing and performing since was aged in the single digits. Releasing his debut album in 1962, it was in 1973 when he first got a major break in the public eye, with his 16th album, Shotgun Willie, serving as the first mainstream example of the outlaw country genre he would later become associated with.
Moving away from the more conservative nature of country music to blaze his own trail, Nelson continued his commercial success with records such as Red Headed Stranger and Stardust, the latter of which was later named one of the 500 greatest albums of all time by Rolling Stone.
Beginning a casual film career in 1979, Nelson again continued his domination across all forms of media, before turning his attention to large-scale activism in the mid-’80s with his Farm Aid festival. Designed as a way to raise money for domestic farmers, the festival soon became a major hit, with events taking place every year since 1985 and raising countless millions for farmers during that time.
Throughout it all though, Nelson has managed to maintain his status as one of the most hard-working and enduring musicians in the country music genre, continuing to play live frequently, even as he edges closer to the age of 90. But it’s this never-say-die, integrous approach to his craft, philanthropy, and life that has made him not just a hero of Americana, but across the world as well.
Thus, it’s easy to see why Brixton and Willie Nelson would team up for a collaboration like this. As Davide Mattucci, Brixton’s VP of Brand Marketing, told Rolling Stone recently, it’s all about celebrating the progressive, forward-thinkers. The ones unafraid to speak their mind and to beat their own path as they navigate the world in which we live. And who else but Willie Nelson fits that brief?
“As a brand that looks to the past to inspire our present, we instantly knew a Willie Nelson collaboration fit us perfectly,” Mattucci explains. “Brixton gravitates toward the musicians, artists, and creators who forge their own way forward and blaze entirely new trails.
“Our product collaborations are meant to celebrate that rebellious sprit and be a bit unexpected. This collaboration is a perfect example of that approach.”
Brixton’s Willie Nelson Collection is available now.