Grace Wales Bonner Has Set Her Sights Beyond Fashion

Grace Wales Bonner’s approach to fashion can sometimes feel more like that of an academic rather than a designer.

Her collections for Wales Bonner, the brand she started in 2015, are informed by dazzlingly intensive research spanning critical theory, music, literature, history and mysticism. With a particular focus on Black identity and conversations about race, her sharply tailored, finely detailed clothes intertwine traditional African craft techniques with references to figures like the Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie, the writer James Baldwin and the artist Theaster Gates and settings like the ballrooms of early 20th-century Harlem and the dance halls of 1970s Jamaica.

Her clever embrace of so many perspectives and personalities, and

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