From creating the world’s first garments crafted from mushroom leather to using fabrics made from recycled plastic bottles, environmental activist and award-winning namesake label Stella McCartney has been bothered about the planet long before “sustainability” became a fashion buzzword.
For the third iteration of Stella Shared 3 – McCartney’s gender-less line – the designer has partnered with three global creatives on a collection that covers signature Stella McCartney pieces with prints created by the next generation of artists. South London-based fashion designer Ed Curtis has been tapped for the collection, along with artist and designer Maisie Broome based in New York and Antwerp-based graphic artist Tom Tosseyn.
Representing the UK is Curtis, who has brought his organic, optical prints and spray-painted lettering to a plethora of Stella McCartney icons. “The fact that Stella McCartney wanted to do a collaboration with me came as a huge surprise, this is the first time I’ve collaborated with a luxury fashion house so it felt very exciting,” explains Curtis, who is an advocate of slow fashion.
The London College of Fashion grad wanted to bring his own unique flair to the capsule collection: “I thought a lot about what I would achieve by doing this, I didn’t want to just provide some artworks and the rest was left to them. It was important that I could input into every creative aspect of the project and build a world around the clothes. Stella completely allowed me to do this, I’ve been able to realise ideas not possible with my own brand and the entire process has been incredibly exciting.”
Curtis’ eye-catching mash-ups of hand-painted, screen-printed and digital artworks have been splattered across a range of garments, from reversible puffer jackets to voluminous trousers. His fun and eccentric designs are hard to miss, describing himself as a mix between Keith Haring and Mr. Blobby. “High energy, big smiles and lots of fun, I find most of fashion and art so serious and boring so I’m trying to create things that make people happy,” says the designer.
For Stella Shared 3, the designer brought his recognisable optical prints to laser-printed organic cotton denim and colourful furry jumpers with the artist’s free-hand spray-painted interpretation of the Stella McCartney logo blown up across the pieces. “There is definitely no concept behind this collection. Every step of creating this collection has been instinctive and It’s important that I don’t think too hard about it. I just have to trust what comes out,” adds Curtis.
With an eccentric shoot to accompany the collection, the designer worked with set designer Lydia Chan to create a fully immersive space that reflects the collection. “For me, it’s important that the surroundings are as full-on, if not more than the clothes. I want that energy to exude out of the page or someone’s phone when they are looking at it,” he mentions. The shoot took place in Stella McCartney’s Mayfair store. “It was fun to bring a bit of chaos and walk around semi-nude whilst the store was still open to customers. We initially were going to shoot at night so customers could shop in peace but Stella wanted them to see, so we did it in the day.”
Wacky, bonkers, yet totally brilliant – if this collection doesn’t bring a smile to your face, we don’t know what will.
Photography by Raphael Bliss. Shop the unisex Stella Shared 3 collection here.