Unless you've been living under a rock for the past five years, you'd know of the brand AMBUSH. A streetwear imprint based in Tokyo that has attracted fans from all four corners of the earth, not many clothing brands can say that they're religiously worn by the likes of ASAP Rocky, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, and Rita Ora. In fact, even the legendary Kanye West is often spotted rocking the label's latest pieces on a day-to-day basis. If you're still not entirely sure who or what AMBUSH is, or you just want to find out a little bit more, you've come to the right place.
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Founded in 2008 as a cult experimental jewelry line, long before the Western world caught on, AMBUSH was a wardrobe staple among K-pop idols, such as 2NE1's CL and Park Bom and BIGBANG's G-Dragon and TOP. Originally famous for its bombastic designs and eye-catching color combinations, the Asian brand has since expanded into ready-to-wear, denim, as well as a host of major collaborations with some of the fashion industry's biggest names. This meteoric rise is a feat that many labels fail to achieve in 50 years, never mind in just 15 years.
So who exactly made AMBUSH? Founded by husband and wife dream team Verbal and Yoon Ahn - who in their own ways already dominated the music and fashion spaces - the power couple met on the campuses of Boston College as students, and went on to influence Tokyo street style for the better part of a decade. A match mad in heaven, the dynamic duo combined Verbal's MC background with Yoon's artistic talent to create a jewelry collection like no other. Immediately catching the attention of the world's elite, some of the most iconic pieces include onomatopoeic rings inspired by traditional comic book and chunky chain necklaces that pay homage to S&M.
In 2015, a mere seven years after the brand was introduced, AMBUSH set its course for world domination by launching a ready-to-wear collection in Paris. The French capital would later become extremely significant to Ahn, as in 2019 , Dior's Kim Jones would crown her as the Jewelry Design Director for Dior Homme. Her first creations for luxury fashion house would eventually make their runway debut in Paris Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2019, and the rest is history.
"Our concept has always been unisex one," Ahn explained while describing AMBUSH's core values. "Starting from the jewelry at the very beginning, I didn't see the concept of gender as necessary for the designs we created. That open approach to what you make of a piece has always been part of our creative process and we hope the wearer can freely enjoy it. We introduced [clothing into the mix] as a canvas for the jewelry, but it was only a matter of time before ready-to-wear took a leading role in our cinema – this season, it takes the main stage."
Over the past decade and a half, AMBUSH has collaboration with some of the world's biggest brands. From streetwear's finest to the most prestigious sports associations on all-time, Verbal and Yoon's fashion company have partnered up with them all. Realistically it would take days upon days to list them all, so instead of doing that we've hand selected four of our favorites projects that you should definitely know about.
Real recognizes real. All the way back in 2009, when AMBUSH was literally one year old, it tapped Nigo's BAPE for the "Kaiju Collection." Paying homage to the Japanese roots of both labels, the extensive capsule featured everything from jewelry, to graphic hoodies, all the way to sneaker and footwear options. Combining their signature aesthetics into one fully-fledged range, it was cleverly marketed with tagline "A Bathing Ape Is Ambushed."
Double denim is back. At the end of 2022, AMBUSH shocked the world by announcing a collaboration with one of the fashion industry's most storied denim brands, Levi's. Split into two parts, the AMBUSH x Levi's capsule boasts a melgané of mid-indigo denim pieces complete with the metallic silver accents throughout, harkening back to Verbal and Yoon's jewelry days. The iconic Levi's tag was also worked with a black-and-white palette that was AMBUSH through and through.
Bottoms up. In 2021, LVMH-owned Moët & Chandon tapped AMBUSH for a collector's-item champagne bottle. Released in extremely limited quantities, these came about during a time when nothing in the fashionsphere was predictable. Extremely minimalist in design, Moët's world-famous streamlined bottle was labeled with co-branded detailing throughout. Additionally, a portion of profits from were donated to the World Land Trust, an international conservation charity that protects threatened natural habitats.
Slam dunk. Of course, we can't talk about the best AMBUSH collaborations without bringing up the AMBUSH x NBA partnership. For this edit, Yoon sought inspiration from strong female characters from the 1990s, and channeled this energy into a vast apparel range that was unmistakably NBA-influenced but with a fresh, feminine touch. To complement this, the South Korean fashion icon also connected with Nike for the Dunk, which we'll talk more about in the next section.
There's no debating the fact that AMBUSH x Nike is one of the most iconic Swoosh collaborations in history. A pairing that has been around since 2017, they've worked on countless silhouettes over the past six years, infusing each and every model, from the Air Force 1 Low to the Dunk High, with the Tokyo label's signature rebellious attitude. If you want to give your sneaker collection the upgrade that it deserves, you've come to the right place. All of these ultra hyped models are available right now from Ox Street, so secure your size ASAP before someone else does.
There's no doubting the fact that the AMBUSH x Nike Dunk High "Black" is one of AMBUSH's most popular sneakers. Giving us some serious "Panda" vibes, this monochromatic masterpiece takes the classic '80s basketball shoe to another dimension. Crafted from premium leather throughout, an AMBUSH-branded heel counter wraps around the back, while the world-famous Swoosh shoots way past the heel for speed-inspired aesthetic. If you've been searching for a clean and simple shoe that's destined to stop traffic, you're looking at it right here.
One of Yoon and Verbal's latest collabs with the American sportswear company, the AMBUSH x Nike Air Force 1 Low "Game Royal" celebrates the AF1's 40th anniversary. First leaked back in November, it has very quickly become one of the most hyped colorways that the hardcourt model has ever seen. Nicknamed the "Sonic the Hedgehog" by the South Korean designer herself, it's painted in a blue and yellow color scheme and comes complete with a 3D printed lace dubrae up front. Pretty neat, right?
In 2020, AMBUSH dove right into Nike's archives to bring back a '90s legend in the form of the AMBUSH x Nike Air Adjust Force "Psychic Purple." Applying the Asian brand's punk rock aesthetic, the retro shoe dropped the classic all-leather construction in favor of a buttery suede outfit that's as premium as it gets. AMBUSH also added a custom Velcro-fastened strap that wraps around the entire upper. Not only does this offer extra support while you're on the court, it adds a pop of color as well across the Swoosh.
And last but not least, we have the AMBUSH x Nike Dunk High "Deep Royal." A contemporary take on the classic Jordan Brand color combination, this particular pair pays tribute to motorcycle culture. From the extended ankle that nods to the rugged boots worn by bikers, to the extra paneling across the heel. The elongated Swoosh across the laterals and medials also adds a sense of speed that's sure to turn heads wherever you go. If you could only get one from this list, Ox Street definitely recommends this particular pair.