Simone Rocha and H&M in a unique designer collaboration
History and heritage. Details and fabrications. Family and community. The many facets of womanhood. For fashion designer Simone Rocha, born in Dublin in 1986, her work and collections are a tribute to what she holds dear. She began her career as part of the talent hub Fashion East, where her take on modern beauty won praise as she reclaimed 'girlish' elements — florals, embellishments, collars, pearls — in a nuanced manner. Since debuting at London Fashion Week in 2010, she has become internationally renowned for her intricate and meticulously-researched collections, always with a nod to her own heritage: Ireland and Hong Kong.
In creating the collection for H&M, Rocha spent time reflecting on and revisiting her brand's archive, combing her past collections and carefully reworking beloved pieces into unexpected new designs that feel right for now.
"To be honest, it was really emotional going through all the pieces — it was a wonderful chance to reflect on seasons I was especially proud of, and to revisit collections that felt like milestones, and little gems of ideas that we maybe didn't push as far as we wanted to the first-time round. The archive is so important to the way I work as a designer anyway. We are not a brand that abandons ideas each season — we often look back on past propositions or continue to evolve a silhouette, or shape," says Rocha.
The Simone Rocha x H&M collection includes her signature womenswear alongside menswear and kidswear, marking the first time she has offered a wardrobe for the whole family. All the garments are designed to be in conversation with each other. So, what to expect from this year's awaited collaboration? Delicate tulle dresses, tartan tailoring, beaded shirting, cable knits, outerwear such as trench coats and signature accessories like sparkling jewellery and pearl-embellished shoes. The entire range comes in Simone Rocha's identifiable and poetic colour palette that mixes cream, pink, red and black.
My approach at every stage of the design process was to remember that for some this would be an introduction to Simone Rocha, a chance to enjoy the brand for the first time, while for others this will be a chance to recall the history of a brand that they have followed for a while. Maybe they will be able to buy a version of a piece that they missed the first time, or a piece they always wanted but didn't get. Through H&M, they will be able to access a new, timeless, special piece to mix in with their existing items from past runway collections. I really hope there is something for everyone — every woman, every guy, the whole family," says Rocha.
Family is of utmost importance to Rocha, as well as her community of friends and collaborators. Therefore, the Simone Rocha x H&M story is brought to life by the people who surround and inspire her. To name a few: stylist, collaborator and close friend Robbie Spencer, model and friend Tess McMillan, sisters Adwoa and Kesewa Aboah, activist and artist — and acclaimed actress Daisy Edgar-Jones.
"Simone's ethos is incredibly inclusive. I'd say that her clothes are made for everyone — whatever age, whatever shape or size, whatever style, be it girly girl or more androgynous. She has something for everyone, which is really wonderful. I also feel that her clothes are made to be worn and made to be lived in, and I think that more fashion should be like that," says Edgar-Jones.
The Simone Rocha x H&M collection launches 11 March.