The playwright linked up with SSENSE on a new collection inspired by Black writers, artists, and musicians that bring him joy

Despite having the UK debut of his play Daddy postponed due to the devil in the form of the coronavirus, playwright Jeremy O. Harris has not slowed down in 2020. Just a few weeks ago he featured in Gus Van Sant’s short film Overture of Something That Never Ended, shown as part of GucciFest, and now he’s teamed up with SSENSE to create a his very own fashion collection. 

As part of the Canadian luxury retailer’s latest initiative SSENSE Works, which aims to collaborate with cross-disciplinary creatives on a series of garments and products, Harris is the first in line to drop a offering. Drawing inspiration from a range of Black writers and artists who, to him, are a source of joy, the likes of Zora Neale Hurston, Carl Van Vechten, jazz singer and actress Ethel Water, Janicza Bravo, Tyler Mitchell, and Jacob Lawrence were all on his moodboard.

The outcome is capsule made up of brightly coloured and gender-neutral garments which channel the energy each artist exudes, with everything from a two-piece indigo suit, a plaid skirt, and a pair of brown, checkered trousers, to geometric tees, hoodies, and tote bags on the line-up. 

In accompanying campaign film Wild with Desire, the former Dazed 100-er walks the streets of London – where he got stuck during lockdown – and discusses the importance of freedom of expression through clothes. Harris also touches on the liberating experiences his family allowed him to have as he grew up experimenting with individualism, in the conservative state of Virginia. “I know that I am very privileged to have been told that it was okay for me to dress as an individual, even though that made me less safe,” he explained. 

“It is a humbling honour to be invited by SSENSE to continue my exploration in shifting the perception of who theatre is for and how one integrates new communities into one of our world’s oldest art forms,” Harris said of working on the collection. Debuting on December 16, the SSENSE Works program is set to continue throughout 2021, with five more collections from a diverse bunch of collaborators yet to come.

Check out the film below and check the full collection out here.