Lee® Celebrates Smiley® 50th Anniversary With New Global Collaboration

Mar 09, 2022 Press Release Tags: Lee, Product, Collaborations

The capsule embodies the motto “Take the Time to Smile” with head to toe looks for men and women

Greensboro, NC, March 9, 2022 – To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Smiley®, iconic denim brand, Lee®, has joined hands with the globally renowned brand on a new lifestyle collection. Bringing to life the original Smiley® campaign, “Take the Time to Smile,” the curated capsule blends iconic Lee silhouettes and Smiley cheer for a feel-good vibe that is perfectly positioned for Spring 2022.

Smiley® has been shaping the way the world expresses positivity through music, art and pop culture since 1972, while Lee® has been celebrating the unrelenting optimism of those who follow their own path for more than a century. Inspired by styles from the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s, the Lee x Smiley capsule invites wearers to join the Happy Revolution. Featuring combinations of the classic yellow Smiley with fresh iterations applied to pastel and tie-dye hues, painted reminders to ‘Take the time to Smile,’ and Lee’s heritage denim, each piece is designed to project positivity. The smallest detail received a refresh, with Lee x Smiley hardware, an exclusively designed Smiley Lee patch and the Smiley embroidered on the jeans’ iconic spade back pockets.

“Lee® is thrilled to partner again with Smiley and celebrate their landmark anniversary with this exclusive collection. Our shared values of optimism and originality make this collaboration a natural fit, and it’s exciting to see how this capsule blends iconic elements of both brands,” said Joe Broyles, vice-president of global collaborations, Lee®.

“Over the last five decades, Smiley has collaborated with brands across all categories imaginable - from fashion to music, to design, accessories, travel and more - with the iconic smiley influencing culture every step of the way,” said Nicolas Loufrani, CEO of The Smiley Company. “This collaboration with Lee® showcases our commitment together to continue to spread positivity and smiles.”

The collection includes men’s and women’s tees, jeans, shirts, jackets, and overalls. Prices range from $45 - $230. The collection is available March 8th on Lee’s websites in the US and Europe. Additionally, Lee created two collector edition pieces which are available exclusively as part of Smiley retail takeovers in Galeries Lafayette stores globally and online at Galerieslafayette.com as well as in the US at Nordstrom at select Pop-In@Nordstrom locations and online at Nordstrom.com/pop. For more information, visit www.lee.com/smiley.


Lee®, a Kontoor Brands (NYSE: KTB) brand, has been a pioneer in purposefully designed denim and casual apparel for more than 130 years. As an iconic American brand, Lee’s heritage is filled with fashion firsts marked by innovative fits, era-defining silhouettes, and legendary details in styles for men, women and boys. Lee’s youthful energy, unrelenting optimism and fearless confidence have created generations of brand loyalists across the globe. For more information, visit www.lee.com.


Created in 1972, by French journalist Franklin Loufrani to spread feel-good news, the Smiley TRADEMARK/BRAND would go on to become one of the most important icons in graphic design, bringing people together through a creative message that spreads positivity and putting social and emotional learning at the top of the agenda. Smiley is a universal counterculture icon with a message of positivity that has influenced generations across the globe. Reinvented and redefined by generations of activists, artists and creators, Smiley continues to thrive and influence future generations.

In 1996 Nicolas Loufrani, son of Franklin, took the helm whilst the world was in the midst of the digital revolution and saw a huge opportunity to bring Smiley into the digital world. Nicolas created a whole new way of communicating, using a variety of facial expressions on the original Smiley to convey emotions. His emoticons are now used by everyone around the world every day.

Pursuing Smiley’s goal to make the world a happier, kinder, more conscious place, Loufrani created Smiley Movement in 2017. ​​Smiley Movement is a non-profit community which aims to inspire positive change in society addressing urgent societal and environmental problems. Smiley Movement provides a cross-media platform of news, videos, events and awards that connect the non-profit sector to the broader public to enlighten minds and empower people to take positive action.

Today, The Smiley Company is one of the world's top global licensing enterprises that extends across fashion and homewares, through to food and beverage and continues to embrace collaboration as an opportunity to spread this important message. For 2022 Smiley will bring back its original message of ‘Take the Time to Smile’ which is still as relevant as ever, by spreading this positive message through global activations, brand collaborations and feel-good experiences. More than an icon, brand and lifestyle, Smiley is a spirit and philosophy and a reminder of how powerful a smile can be.