In a seamless fusion of art, fashion, and motorsports, British Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton has joined forces with Japanese artist Takashi Murakami to launch a second collection for Hamilton’s clothing brand +44, following the success of their 2022 collaboration.
Inspired by the upcoming Las Vegas F1 tournament, the vibrant streetwear and accessories line merges ‘90s techno design and Murakami’s signature artistic imprint. Yet, most importantly, the move embodies Hamilton’s journeying into cultural institutions, incorporating his extensive cultural prestige and love of art to create memorable collectors items.
The Jean-Michel Basquiat of car racing, Hamilton is increasingly breaking boundaries within culture, merging the creative industries and leveraging the reach of his record-breaking global fanbase. From designing a helmet with Hajime Sorayama in September for the Suzuka Grand Prix in Japan, to releasing this second collection with Murakami, he is making art accessible to many. Having already fulfilled unmatched achievements in motorsports, it seems as though his direction – while not retiring from race car driving just yet – is looking toward cultural institutions, too.
Back in 2015, after turning 30, he told The Guardian of plans to build his own museum and foundation, “Growing up, I was restricted in being made aware of my creative side. Over the last few years I’ve started to really be aware of that. There are things that I’m really quite creative in and so I’m going to try to see where that takes me. So I’m trying lots of different things.”
As a seven-time world champion race car driver and admired style icon, Hamilton has evolved over the years into a trailblazer of culture.
His second tie-up with Murakami marks a continued journey into the art industry, championing how Hamilton is, ultimately, a cultural master of his time.
Seeing as the pair’s 27-piece “The Vegas Trip” collection is only available on Plus44.world and theNTWRK.com, a livestream shopping platform, it is evidently being pushed as an exclusive, collectible art-fashion collaboration.
Amping up physical activations, +44 is also hosting a Murakami pop-up store in partnership with NTWRK at the Wynn Las Vegas from November 15 to 19, as well as at futuristic festival — ComplexCon Long Beach from November 18 to November 19, timed to coincide with the 2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix.
“It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Murakami’s work and technique. He’s a legendary artist, and having the opportunity to work with him for a second time is a dream,” Hamilton said in a statement.
“This year we’re bringing +44 to the desert and taking our creative partnership to the next level with a collection that encourages people to push boundaries and explore the limits of what’s possible in their own lives. I think this collaboration is even more exciting than the last one, and I can’t wait to share it with our fans and the +44 community,” he added.
Taking the role of curator for this project, Hamilton is able to grow his already-established fanbase in China (the hashtag #lewishamilton presently boasts 100 million views on Weibo) to include that of the Japanese artist.
From designing watches for Hublot to doing an art exhibition with Virgil Abloh, Murakami is an icon that frequently ventures into various industries, serving as a bridge for luxury brands to connect with esteemed collectors within the art industry.
This continued work with Murakami foreshadows the exclusive direction that Hamilton’s +44 is heading in. The founder is undeniably branding himself more as a curator with these limited edition and coveted drops, making +44 a collector must-have rather than a mass streetwear label.