It remains largely unclear how antigen-presenting cells (APCs) encounter effector or memory T cells efficiently in the periphery. Here we used a mouse contact hypersensitivity (CHS) model to show that upon epicutaneous antigen challenge, dendritic cells (DCs) formed clusters with effector T cells in dermal perivascular areas to promote in situ proliferation and activation of skin T cells in a manner dependent on antigen and the integrin LFA-1. We found that DCs accumulated in perivascular areas and that DC clustering was abrogated by depletion of macrophages. Treatment with interleukin 1α (IL-1α) induced production of the chemokine CXCL2 by dermal macrophages, and DC clustering was suppressed by blockade of either the receptor for IL-1 (IL-1R) or the receptor for CXCL2 (CXCR2). Our findings suggest that the dermal leukocyte cluster is an essential structure for elicitating acquired cutaneous immunity.