Duro Olowu and JCPenney

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Acclaimed London-based designer Duro Olowu charmed fashion insiders with his mix-match of riotous prints and bold colors — inspired by his native Africa — and he’s now bringing his eye for the dramatic to JCPenney for the store’s first designer collaboration. The Nigerian-born talent created a collection true to his statement-making aesthetic, which includes accessories and home goods ranging from $10 to $100.
“I wanted to add an element of art and surrealism but in a really possible way,” Olowu says. “Because I think the general public, which we’re all a part of, need to be inspired. I need to be inspired.” He tells us more about his spirited print-happy collaboration, sure to inspire your wardrobe choices all summer long.

What was your starting point for the collection?
I’ve always loved American design, from Claire McCardell in the ’30s to Willi Smith. American style is a bit underrated in that respect, as high fashion. So, I said I’m going to think of American classics and give them global flair.

What was the design process like?
I wanted this to feel like a collection, not like my greatest hits rehashed. I want to walk in and think, “Oh, I would buy this,” if I saw it. What I love about it is that I feel that it’s age-appropriate for any age. It’s like “funky granny” — you mix it up, you mix it down. [Laughs] Also, these are not disposable pieces, they are classics.


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