Madewell has a habit of partnering with brands that appeal to the same group of tried-and-true denim wearers who love a prairie-style frock and peasant blouse moment. So when trying to think up its next collaboration, the denim-focused retailer turned to New Zealand-based designer Karen Walker.
"We're long-time fans of Karen Walker and her brand," Madewell's head designer Joyce Lee said in an official statement. "We love the energy they bring to their designs through their use of color and prints and the way they reimagine denim with a novelty twist."
Walker, who is a master when it comes to flattering womanly shapes and bringing in a folksy inflection, was happy to bring her youthfully feminine patterns and playful frills to Madewell. In fact, the retailer has stocked Walker's ready-to-wear line online for several seasons, but this marks the first time it has tapped Walker to co-design a range that includes dresses, shirts, sweatshirts, skirts, jackets, jumpsuits, denim and, of course, sunglasses.
The line was inspired by Walker's collections from the past two decades. "Madewell had free reign on our archives and they pulled out many of the garments that we consider to be the best-known and best-loved," Walker said in the press release. "For us, it was totally intriguing to see our classic designs rediscovered and reimagined by fresh eyes."
With denim as the backbone of the capsule, Walker and Madewell crafted a covetable shade of dark indigo called the "Walker Wash," which they used to create a dress, overalls, top and mini skirt all with frayed edges and statement ties. The line also boasts a selection of archival floral prints reimagined in new hues of mystic yellow, violet tint and champagne, as well as three exclusive styles of sunglasses. Two of the sunglasses are entirely new styles exclusive to Madewell, while the third is Walker's iconic Helter Skelter design in an updated pink colorway.
"It felt really easy and natural to take this bold step and experiment a little, mix our DNA with their own," Walker said. What came out of the joint design process was a collection that is a culmination of Walker's most beloved pieces, Madewell's denim expertise and their combined effortlessly cool aesthetic.
See every piece from the Madewell x Karen Walker collection in the gallery below.
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