Designer collaborations have had their time. Today, it is more trendy that two brands team up together, such as The North Face x Gucci, Jimmy Choo x Marine Serre and many more. However, H&M, the Swedish retailer, that made designer collaborations fashionable, is sticking to its concept, not as loud as before, but definitely something for the fashion-loving customer around the globe, as for the first time, the Simone Rocha universe is opened up and extended to everyone. Meet the London-based Irish designer and get a glimpse of what this year’s collaboration will bring.
Fashion Designer Simone Rocha
History and heritage. Details and fabrications. Family and community. The many facets of womanhood. For fashion designer Simone Rocha, born in Dublin in 1986, her work and collections are a tribute to what she holds dear. She began her career as part of the talent hub Fashion East, where her take on modern beauty won praise as she reclaimed ‘girlish’ elements — florals, embellishments, collars, pearls — in a nuanced manner. Since debuting at London Fashion Week in 2010, she has become internationally renowned for her intricate and meticulously-researched collections, always with a nod to her own heritage: Ireland and Hong Kong.
In creating the collection for H&M, Rocha spent time reflecting on and revisiting her brand’s archive, combing her past collections and carefully reworking beloved pieces into unexpected new designs that feel right for now.
«To be honest, it was really emotional going through all the pieces — it was a wonderful chance to reflect on seasons I was especially proud of, and to revisit collections that felt like milestones, and little gems of ideas that we maybe didn’t push as far as we wanted to the first-time round. The archive is so important to the way I work as a designer anyway. We are not a brand that abandons ideas each season — we often look back on past propositions or continue to evolve a silhouette, or shape,» says Rocha.
The Simone Rocha x H&M collection includes her signature womenswear alongside menswear and kidswear, marking the first time she has offered a wardrobe for the whole family. All the garments are designed to be in conversation with each other. So, what to expect from this year’s awaited collaboration? Delicate tulle dresses, tartan tailoring, beaded shirting, cable knits, outerwear such as trench coats and signature accessories like sparkling jewellery and pearl-embellished shoes. The entire range comes in Simone Rocha’s identifiable and poetic colour palette that mixes cream, pink, red and black. The majority of the Simone Rocha x HM women’s collection goes up to size EUR L=44/46 and UK L=16/18 and US XL=48/50.
«My approach at every stage of the design process was to remember that for some this would be an introduction to Simone Rocha, a chance to enjoy the brand for the first time, while for others this will be a chance to recall the history of a brand that they have followed for a while. Maybe they will be able to buy a version of a piece that they missed the first time, or a piece they always wanted but didn’t get. Through H&M, they will be able to access a new, timeless, special piece to mix in with their existing items from past runway collections. I really hope there is something for everyone — every woman, every guy, the whole family,» says Rocha.
Family is of utmost importance to Rocha, as well as her community of friends and collaborators. Therefore, the Simone Rocha x H&M story is brought to life by the people who surround and inspire her. To name a few: stylist, collaborator and close friend Robbie Spencer, model and friend Tess McMillan, sisters Adwoa and Kesewa Aboah, activist and artist — and acclaimed actress Daisy Edgar-Jones.
«Any time that I’m on set with Simone, or behind the scenes at a show, you just feel this certain warmth — there’s never any stress, and you can tell that she fills her work space with people who really inspire her in her everyday life, and that’s what brings this certain sense of community, and certain sense of ease. I always just feel so comfortable, because you are surrounded by people who are just really fun to be around. I have worked with her for four seasons now, and every time I’m just so excited to see everyone — to see the designers, the stylist, all the people who help me get dressed, it’s the same faces. It’s a really, really amazing community, truly. And I always look forward to laughing and catching up,» says McMillan.
The Simone Rocha x H&M collection launches 11 March.
I love the campaign… reminds me so much of a Jo Malone ad. To see me wearing Simone Rocha, have a look here.
Photos: © H&M