Sharing a passion for irreverent design, Ashley Williams teams up with Red or Dead for SS15 for a capsule collection that drops today.
Kitsch print work, stuffed toy totes, bold slogans and sassy-as-you-like sequins; ever since her 2012 Westminster graduate collection (that saw A-list pals Pixie Geldof and Alice Dellal stomp down the runway in additive-heavy Americana prints) saw the light of day, Ashley Williams has been taking the London fashion scene by storm. Following up her impressive entrance with a three season stint on the Fashion East roster, a limited-edition collaboration with Selfridges Denim Lab, a first stand alone show for SS15 and a stockist list that includes the likes of Colette, Paris and London’s Machine-A – it’s clear Williams is on the rise.
Her most recent feat is a collaboration with kooky Brit brand Red or Dead, on the footwear for her SS15 line. Proving fashion is more than surface deep, whilst the collection might be all lurex glitter and slogan sweats from the outside, the underlying references sit within prostitution rings in 1970’s war torn Vietnam. Riffing off the somewhat wonky adoption of American culture in Asia, Williams twins girly dresses with Coke can graphics and kitten heels. Red or Dead’s Creative Director Katie Greenyer and Williams tell us more about the collection.
Katie, why Ashley was the perfect fit for this collab?
Katie: We would only get in to bed with someone who has the same values as us and Ashley ticks all the right boxes: British, fun, colour, kitsch and print! We have a like-minded irreverent, cheeky attitude. What more could we ask for?
Exactly! So, Ashley, what was your personal connection to Red or Dead before the venture?
Ashley: I’ve always loved Red or Dead since being a teenager, I loved the clothes and shoes. I own some that I still wear now.
How did the archives influence your final design?
A: Red or dead have such a great archive; it’s hard to narrow it down. The pieces we pulled for the campaign shoot are probably my favourite. For the final design we wanted to incorporate a print from SS15 on the shoes, but one that also worked well on its own. I focused on the line dot print from the collection and the designs came from there.
Do you have an all time favourite pair of Red or Dead shoes?
A: Again that’s hard to say as there are so many, but I really like the shoes Kylie wore on the cover of her Got To Be Certain single. That entire outfit is so good!
Agreed. So what aesthetic values would you say you both share?
K: We’re united by a mutual fascination of story telling and an intrigue and desire for pop culture. Our retro aesthetic worked perfectly with Ashley’s graphic, humorous and irreverent designs; we created a footwear collection worth gawping at.
A: Red or Dead play on irony a lot, which is also a factor in my aesthetic. We have the same audience but from different eras!
Katie, what do you think it is that makes the Ashley Williams label so exciting right now?
K: Whilst Ashley’s collections on the surface seem camp, kitsch and light-hearted, there’s social comment that reflects the life and times of the world today. There aren’t many designers that are able to tell stories like she does.
Is there an Ashley Williams mantra?
A: To not take yourself too seriously, to enjoy what you’re doing and what you’re wearing.
Always! What can we expect for AW15?
A: You’ll have to wait and see, but I’m excited about it all coming together.
Okay, last one, who are the ultimate Red or Dead and Ashley Williams pin-ups?
A: Sofia Coppola and Kim Gordon.
K: That’s really tricky as I have so many! Alive – Kate Bush, Alison Goldfrapp and Ruth Wilson. Dead – Diana Dors, Carmen Miranda and Frida Kahlo, to name a few.
Words: Brooke McCord.