How Levi's Princess Mononoke Collab Went Completely FUBAR

Denim meets anime, and it's sold out

Levis Princess Mononoke Reseller
News

By RC Staff

Key Points

  • Levi’s announced a collaboration with Studio Ghibli in July

  • The collection was supposed to be available on August 10, but many items were unavailable

  • Now, most items from the collection are reselling for double or triple retail

Items

Clothing & Accessories
295

Profit

This is the difference between the sale price and resell price. It does not take into account any costs associated with reselling. Things like shipping, storage fees, if applicable.

Levi’s x Studio Ghibli Princess Mononoke Denim Trucker Jacket

This light wash denim jacket has a graphic print showcasing San and Wolf from the iconic 1997 Hayao Miyazaki film Princess Mononoke. It was released as part of a collection that was notoriously difficult to purchase.

Clothing & Accessories
505

Profit

This is the difference between the sale price and resell price. It does not take into account any costs associated with reselling. Things like shipping, storage fees, if applicable.

Levi’s x Studio Ghibli Princess Mononoke Kimono

This 12 oz denim Kimono is covered with swirl patterns that invoke the iconic 1997 Hayao Miyazaki film Princess Mononoke. It was released as part of a collection that was notoriously difficult to purchase.

Studio Ghibli fans got a surprise earlier this month when Levi’s announced a limited edition Princess Mononoke capsule collection. What started off as a whimsical opportunity to pick up some neat pieces of clothing morphed into something else entirely. Technical issues with Levi’s site, confusing communication, and a delayed release led to a state of total chaos. Many people who tried to get in on the collaboration early were left empty-handed. Now, resellers who managed to secure some of the most hyped pieces from the collection are selling them for hundreds of dollars over retail.

Princess Mononoke, Studio Ghibli, and Levi's

Well, there’s a lot of denim in this collection.

We got our first look at the collaboration between Levi’s and Studio Ghibli on July 28, as a press release from Levi’s. In addition to the U.S. launch, Levi’s X Princess Mononoke clothes were also sold through Levi’s Japan at the same time.

What’s cool about this collection is that it’s actually pretty high effort. Levi’s could have gone the easy route and slapped some emblems or patches on a pair of jeans and shipped it to Hot Topic. Instead, their design team went the extra mile and came up with a host of incredible looks.

Denim is a central theme here, with jackets, jeans, shorts, and even a pair of coveralls being included in the Levi’s X Princess Mononoke collection. The clothing feels very unique, with wide, painting-like designs stretching across the denim.

Princess Mononoke features hand-painted backgrounds depicting gorgeous scenes in nature, and that’s something we felt really inspired by

Levi’s Design Team

Within the collection, denim articles fall under two themes: light and dark. Light denim typically revolves around the characters Ashitaka and San in bright light, like forests and blue skies. Dark denim focuses on the Nightwalker, with subtle designs rising out of the deep indigo fabric.

Levis Princess Mononoke Reseller

And of course there are also some graphic tees included. These have a pretty streetwear-inspired theme to them, and are in line with what we’ve seen come out of similar collaborations in the past. This year marks the 150th anniversary of Levi’s 501 jean, so the company has been celebrating with a range of limited edition product runs like these.

When the Levi’s X Princess Mononoke collaboration was first revealed in July, people immediately got hyped for it. It’s clear that the parties involved really went the extra mile, and it’s reflected in the designs. While we were slated for a public release on August 10, a number of unexpected changes and surprise sales left many potential buyers emptyhanded and disappointed.

When was the Levi's X Princess Mononoke Drop?

In all of Levi’s press releases and communications about the collection, they said that it would be available for sale online on August 10, and also through select Levi’s locations the same day. That’s what most people were expecting, but it’s not what happened.

Instead, Levi’s sent out an email in the early morning hours on August 5, informing Red Tab members that an exclusive private sale was open right now. This email came in at around 3 AM Pacific, with no prior warning. Levi’s Red Tab is their free to join rewards program, that also gives members early access to certain sales and promos.

So it’s not unusual that Red Tab members got in early, but Levi’s didn’t say anything about that beforehand. When members woke up and saw the email, many took the opportunity to start buying into the collection.

@stylebykvn

Replying to @Christy Levi’s x Princess Mononoke sold out and restock? 🦌 #princessmononoke #studioghibli #levis #soldout #restock

♬ “PRINCESS MONONOKE” Suite – from ‘Princess Mononoke’ / Live – Joe Hisaishi & New Japan Philharmonic World Dream Orchestra

In the next couple days, the most popular items would sell out and then restock sporadically. Now comes the confusing bit. On the day of the planned public release, August 10, Levi’s opened up the collection to the public, but many items were missing. The jackets and coveralls, as well as some graphic tee designs just simply weren’t on the page.

Like with the presale, some of these items would then reappear back in stock, but then vanish a few minutes later. All together, it was an extremely frustrating experience for people who were excited about the Levi’s X Princess Mononoke collaboration.

To make matters worse, some Red Tab members began to report that their orders made before the public sale were being canceled.

Levis Princess Mononoke Order Cancel

It seems like Levi’s was completely unprepared for the demand that this collection got, or that the high-quality designs produced for the collaboration were not made in adequate numbers. Either way, or both, the end result was a very messy sale, confusion, and disappointment.

Levi's X Princess Mononoke Resellers

Because of this snafu, resellers who managed to score pieces from the Levi’s X Princess Mononoke collection had an opportunity to make an incredible profit. There were now tons of eyes on this project, and not nearly enough stock to go around.

The trucker jackets and jeans from the collection were extremely popular. These are reselling right now for upwards of $500, after retailing for $245. The long Nightwalker denim jacket is the current highlight of the collection, hitting prices of $700 after selling from Levi’s for $175.

Levi

Actually, pretty much everything from the Levi’s X Princess Mononoke collaboration is reselling like crazy. Bucket hats for $200, totes for $250, graphic tees for $500 (!!!) People really went nuts for the this collection, and Levi’s dropping the ball on the sale just made demand more intense.

It’s unclear what the future of the collection looks like. Since the sale on August 10, Levi’s has removed listings on their website, implying that they won’t be coming back soon. Here’s a link to a Wayback Machine snapshot of the sale, if you want to compare the site to what it looks like now.

Certain Levi’s locations in Chicago, LA, and New York were also reported to have items from the collection in stock, but information on these is sparse. By now, everything is probably sold out in stores and online, and it’s only resellers making money off the Levi’s X Princess Mononoke collection now.

It’s a shame this sale went so badly, considering how cool most of the items from the collection are. Oh well, there will be more crossovers, cash grabs, and limited time collections in the future. If there’s one thing we can count on, it’s that people are willing to throw wads of cash at shirts with two brand names on them.

Speaking of which, check out our article on the recent Stussy & Born X Raised collab. It’s an example of how to handle a hyped sale correctly, and also shows how much money you can make by reselling clothes.

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