The Grammy-winning musician has entered into a partnership with Bionic Yarn, a two-year-old textile firm based in New York dedicated to developing environmentally sustainable fabrics. In this new role, Williams is both an owner and investor in the company, as well as an ambassador and spokesman for the brand. Williams has been on an acquisition spree lately: last week, he was spotted at Art Basel Miami, where sources said he snapped up a work by Takashi Murakami. (For more on the Miami scene, see page 4.)
Bionic Yarn engineers, markets and manufactures premium yarns and fabrics using fibers comprised of recycled plastic bottles. The company’s primary applications include backpacks, luggage, handbags, activewear, outdoor apparel, workwear, casual apparel, denim, footwear and home furnishings. Bionic Yarn already has corporate partnerships with companies including Cole Haan, End Star, Billionaire Boys Club and Ice Cream (which Williams owns with Japanese fashion star Nigo), Prana, Mission Playground and Sophomore.
“I’m so interested in the technology behind this,” Williams told WWD of his decision to become a partner in Bionic Yarn. “I’m also very concerned about the environment and want to make a conscious effort to make it better.”
Williams said he will work hard to get the word out about the importance of utilizing the sustainable fabric and is working with his partner, Tyson Toussant, to develop textiles.
“We were just looking at this new canvas that is amazing,” he said. “Basically, the denim is still denim, the cotton is still cotton. The process to make the Bionic Yarn makes it extremely durable and gives it a really luxurious feel. When Nigo’s team — my partners at BBC/Ice Cream — felt the Bionic Yarn cotton, they couldn’t believe how smooth it feels.” Nigo also owns the trendy Japanese brand A Bathing Ape.
According to company research, more than 60 million plastic bottles go from the consumer to landfills and incinerators each day. Bionic Yarn’s mission is to preserve and protect the environment by creating these high-performance recycled fabrics to be used to create everyday items. The average piece of luggage made of Bionic Yarn contains 18 (1 liter) recycled plastic water bottles and the average pair of jeans made of the fabric contains seven recycled plastic beverage bottles.
“Our goal is to be the go-to fabric supplier,” Williams said. “We want to provide quality fabrics that happen to also be sustainable. We want to do everything from high-end luggage, to high-end denim, to university caps and gowns to Parks Department uniforms. It’s a plus that the fabric brings environmentalism to a whole new level.”
Besides these partnerships with Bionic Yarn and the Billionaire Boys Club and Ice Cream brands, Williams also partnered with Louis Vuitton earlier this year when he collaborated on a fine jewelry line and a collection of sunglasses.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast