The simple yet captivating images were captured during Wales Bonner’s Lovers Rock Autumn/Winter 2020 show in January
Today, London-based designer Grace Wales Bonner has unveiled the campaign for her Lovers Rock Autumn/Winter 2020 collection, which is photographed by feted Russian-Ghanaian photographer Liz Johnson Artur. Shot in simpler times, the pared-back triptych of images were produced at Wales Bonner’s show in London this January, which was held mere weeks before the first pandemic-induced lockdown ground the city, and country, to a standstill. Described by the designer as “a sweet song to the strength of community”, Wales Bonner’s celebratory collection certainly provides a respite from the isolating times of today.
Entitled Lovers Rock, Bonner’s winter outing was a love letter to the gentle reggae genre of the same name, which erupted out of the underground parties of second-generation Afro-Carribeans in 1970s London. A tribute to those who found “love and belonging” in these secret blues parties, the collection was one of simple elegance, which married elements of Jamaican fashion with traditional British dress.
Few photographers are better suited to capture the spirit of this collection than Liz Johnson Artur, who has documented the African diaspora for some 30 years. Capturing a wealth of subjects in myriad real-life events – from underground club nights to church services, weddings and life on the streets – Artur has dedicated her professional life to recording the everyday joy in Black communities. Of the collaboration, Wales Bonner says, “it is an honour to have Liz Johnson Artur shoot our campaign, her documentation of Black British style is so important.”