Fans of & Other Stories had plenty to celebrate earlier this year when the cult Swedish brand finally launched their first physical store in Singapore at ION Orchard. And now, BAZAAR has the inside scoop on their new collaboration with London-based fashion brand A.W.A.K.E MODE.
We spoke with & Other Stories’ Head of Co-labs Karolina Ekman and A.W.A.K.E. MODE founder Natalia Alaverdian on what fans of both brands can expect from the new collection, which design aesthetics inspired the new products, and why they hope shoppers will love their new pieces. See what they had to say below, along with a sneak peek at the new collection.
What can buyers expect to find in this co-lab? What products or designs make it unique?
Natalia: The co-lab collection is rooted in A.W.A.K.E. MODE’s signature codes, such as sharp asymmetric tailoring and deconstructed everyday wardrobe staples. The result balances dreams and pragmatism together with wearability.
I love all the pieces and hope they will all be best-sellers. My personal favourite pieces are our deconstructed skirts which look like tailored classic trousers, but slightly tweaked and shifted, and with skirt functionality. Also, the open back blazer that goes with one of the pant-skirts is close to my heart. I guess they are my favourite as I’m just a fan of tailoring as well as taking things away from the norm and reinventing traditional into something unexpected. It was very rewarding to see the & Other Stories team share my enthusiasm for these pieces as well. I am also super excited for the braided bag as I am obsessed with braided textures in all materials, and our clasped hand brooch in silver because I am always up for a little surreal detail.
You’ve talked about deconstructed tailoring and textures in this collection and even allude to some inspiration from a braided art installation. Could you elaborate more on that, and what moved you to create a co-lab inspired by movement?
Natalia: The concept was to create something very unique that would resonate both with A.W.A.K.E. MODE and & Other Stories. So the capsule, being concise, is still quite versatile and is really a little autumn/winter wardrobe, which comprises of all categories including accessories. We tried to concentrate on pieces that represent both brands, and would sit comfortably in the same wardrobe, yet be completely unique and a statement of their own. The capsule theme therefore is very much about deconstructed tailoring, textures, and a lot about movement.
As independent designers with lots of experience at places like H&M, how did you both distill those different experiences into working on this co-lab? How did you come together to find what worked for this collection and combine both your design identities?
Natalia: I feel that & Other Stories is very accessible and yet still advanced in their vision and design, so it was a very organic merge – since even our most deconstructed and complicated pieces are still very wearable, I feel we fit right in together. It was a great honour to be able to work with everyone at & Other Stories. I have an enormous admiration for every person I met, especially for those I worked closely with. It’s a collective of incredibly talented, beautiful, and special women creating for other women.
Karolina: Our co-labs complement the existing collections with their different, strong characteristics and expertise. A.W.A.K.E. MODE has been on our radar for quite some time, and we absolutely adore the brand’s innovative cuts, interesting juxtapositions, and distinctive expression of modern femininity. Therefore, we are ecstatic to be able to collaborate with such a strong fashion voice. The collection is stunning – and surreally sophisticated. Natalia was given free rein when designing the collection, although we bounced ideas, sketches and samples off each other.
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What did you each love most about working with one another on this co-lab?
Natalia: It’s been absolutely amazing to collaborate with & Other Stories. There’s this sense of joy, love, inclusivity, and warmth in their brand philosophy which we truly have in common. It’s not just about women dressing women, but also about creating an atmosphere that feels comfortable, friendly, and kind. And of course, it’s in the name – A.W.A.K.E. MODE is all about storytelling which is my favourite thing to do – so & Other Stories was obviously a perfect match.
Karolina: A.W.A.K.E. MODE is truly unique and this co-lab really shows the strength of Natalia’s storytelling. Touches of surrealism are fun yet elegant, but she also brings in lesser-known cultural references for depth. We’re so excited to share the A.W.A.K.E. MODE universe with women around the world – and bring to life a collection of pieces that act as an ideal autumn/winter capsule wardrobe.
What do you hope these clothes do for the buyers who wear them?
Natalia: I am hoping that this collection will bring joy and special moments to women around the world who end up wearing these pieces, as much as it brought me when I was creating and working on them with the wonderful & Other Stories team.
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