Wales Bonner: The Multitude of Perceptions

Photo Courtesy of @WalesBonner Photo Courtesy of @WalesBonner
Photo Courtesy of @WalesBonner Photo Courtesy of @WalesBonner

In one of our recent staff meetings we have gently brushed the topic  of genderlessness- or rather, the genders and/or lack of thereof in art. Lucky enough to be living in unpresumptuous Scandi-land- when posed over the the question -a predominantly blank stare, particularly amongst youth, seems to be the answer. Luckily. Categorizing with purpose to limit has increasingly become un-cool as multitude of perceptions over the questions of gender, race and class have drastically changed over the last decade. Fluidity and acceptance rather than utilitarian unification, have become cornerstones that unite generations X,Y,Z ,albeit the idea of identity presentations is increasingly complex, the millennials are seemingly owning it in unapologetic manner.

collections are reference hotpots stretching from pan-African influences– to classical Western tailoring,  while she coax us deeper into her narrative.

Taking the above into consideration, it is not so strange that the work of London born, CSM trained, Grace Wales Bonner resonates with such impact across genders and cultures. A menswear designer predominantly interested in confronting cultural codes, especially those of black male sexuality, Bonner has been lauded (and won LVMH prize in 2016) for her multi-layered approach that stretches across all the creative disciplines– for instance her first press-release came as a 10,000 word graduate dissertation and zyne. The wildly lavish collections are reference hotpots stretching from pan-African influences– to classical Western tailoring,  while she coax us deeper into her narrative. Indeed, the narrative and emotion stand central in Bonner’s work, which just might be the reason why her design is gently cutting through the noise surrounding industry. While Bonner is seemingly floating on top of the inflamed topics, she claims to stay as unpolitical as possible, exploring cultural appropriation and assimilation within pre-existing structures rather than heralding for a certain cause. And while Bonner’s approach may be interpreted as radical,  it is her inherently gentle personality that accounts for the softness and poetry in her work.