WALES BONNER SS21 Explores the "Essence" of Jamaican Dancehall in the 1980s

London-based fashion designer Grace Wales Bonner looks to explore the diasporic connections between Britain and the Caribbean once more in her eponymous label’s Spring/Summer 2021 collection, “Essence.”

Last season the brand, WALES BONNER, examined the British Jamaican community in London in the ’70s. For “Essence,” the designer looks to Jamaica in the early 1980s, a time when dancehall started to emerge. As a result, the collection is packed with color and pieces that bridge between sportswear and tailoring, featuring elements made from striped satin and patchworked corduroy.

Furthermore, WALES BONNER continues its collaboration with adidas Originals. SS21’s offering brings pink and ivory crochet tracksuits that combine the Three Stripes’ heritage with Grace Wales Bonners’, as well as canvas and leather plimsolls that look as if they’re a rework of the Nizza silhouette, and a pair of ivory topstitched football boots.

Tailoring is exceptionally standout for WALES BONNER this upcoming season, with a double-breasted peacoat complete with satin arms, a maroon topstitched jacket that’s finished with a cumberbund-like waist belt and complementing trousers, and the “Cedar Brown” striped jacket all appearing as key offerings. Together, the tailoring nods to military uniforms with its slim-fitting, structured aesthetic, complete with elements such as gold buttons, emblems, and belting.

To further celebrate the collection, WALES BONNER has worked with Jeano Edwards to release a short film titled Thinkin’ Home (2020). In this, eight young men travel through Jamaica to the soundtracks of reggae, 80s dancehall, gospel and spoken word. It was inspired by rockers and traditional Jamaican film making, and introduces WALES BONNER SS21 beautifully.

Lastly, there is a digital zine produced by Grace Wales Bonner titled Reflections on Essence. It acts as a publication that showcases the designer’s inspiration throughout the triptych of collections she has, and still is, working on that reflect upon the relationship between Britain and Jamaica.

Check out the lookbook for WALES BONNER SS21 “Essence” in the gallery above, and watch the film above, too. For those wanting to see the zine, head to the WALES BONNER website.

In other news, MM6 Maison Margiela SS21 introduces inclusive essentials for all.
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