With her 2021 Pre Spring and Men's Spring/Summer collections, Chitose Abe of sacai wanted to evoke the themes of peace, love, and unity with the tagline "Love Over Rules." To convey this message, the fashion house has teamed up with Brooklyn-based conceptual artist Hank Willis Thomas. The collection is presented in a powerful two-part campaign inspired by those who have broken rules and pushed boundaries to defy society’s expectations regardless of race, culture or gender.
The campaign was created by Hank Willis Thomas Studio, in collaboration with Equator Productions, and focuses on community through portrait photography and film. A handful of artists were invited, including jazz trumpeter Keyon Harrold; movement artist Mizuho Kappa; artist Zoë Buckman; designer and advocate Celine Semaan Vernon; jazz pianist Jason Moran; and artist and activist Chella Man, as well as Thomas himself and his wife, curator Rujeko Hockley. In the campaign film, the participants shared what "Love Over Rules" means to them.
In honor of the collection, longstanding supporter and retail partner Bergdorf Goodman will be celebrating sacai's partnership with Thomas in its iconic store windows on Fifth Avenue starting Monday, January 18 to coincide with Martin Luther King Day. Plus, Bergdorf Goodman has an additional marketing campaign, which includes an interview with Thomas featured on their website. The collection is available in store and online at Bergdorf Goodman.
The fabrics used for these two collections are all repurposed from the sacai archives. In doing so, Abe revisited some of her favorite prints, such as Reyn Spooner, Pendleton as well as suiting fabrics in solids, glen checks and pinstripes and nylon MA-1. Abe has reworked these materials into a graphic patchwork pattern inspired by Hank Willis Thomas's work. This collection, like the brand's DNA, is all about taking classic and familiar shapes and transforming them to create something new and unexpected.
In a video call from her Tokoyo Atelier with WWD, Abe said about the Love Over Rules collection, which debuted last summer, “Basically, the collection is to honor and respect all people, and to also agree—love over rules, no matter what their race, culture or sexuality.”