SPARK JOY THIS SUMMER WITH LAKWENA X H&M
Bold, bright and mood-boosting, just one glance at a Lakwena Maciver artwork leaves the viewer feeling instantly enriched. That’s no accident. “I’m interested in bringing joy, bringing hope, and building people and places up,” says the multidisciplinary British artist. Celebrated for her largescale works in public spaces – she has transformed buildings as diverse as the Bowery Wall in New York and an electrical substation in London with her rainbow-bright murals – this season Lakwena has set her sights on kidswear. In July, she brings her signature optimism to a characteristically kaleidoscopic collection for H&M.
Resolutely playful and positive in spirit, the collection’s key looks consist of streetwise wardrobe favourites energized with daring colour, print and empowering messages. Designed for two age categories – younger kids and older pre-teens – the collection combines graphics adapted from Maciver’s existing works with original phrases and vivid patterns. The optimistic mood is reflected in styling that prioritises self-expression.
Maciver thinks primarily in colours, shapes and words. She has a love for language and wordplay, drilling down into established meanings to offer up fresh, sometimes subversive takes on well-known phrases and slogans. And of course, there’s her instinct for colour. “I used to say that yellow was my favourite, for sentimental reasons. But right now my favourite colour is probably pink!” she laughs. “There’s something about it that’s commonly associated with little girls, babyishness, but the way it pops – it’s gorgeous.”
Colour and text were obvious starting points for the H&M Kidswear collection, but equally significant was Lakwena’s reflection on her role as a mother. Her three young children have had a practical bearing on her work – “I’ve had to become more clever about the way that I work, in order to be productive,” she says – in addition to a conceptual impact. “[Motherhood] has made me think a lot more about the future, and what I want to pass on to my children,” she reveals. “Some of the values I want to instil and pass on are resilience, curiosity and courage.”
Graphics adapted from her existing works are combined with positive affirmations, printed on the garments and accessories in striking typography. “The messages include ‘Small but mighty’, which touches on the idea of resilience, and ‘A lovely day’, which is about a celebration of life says Maciver. They repeat across T-shirts and hoodies, either incorporated into squiggles and swirls or heroed as graphic texts printed across chests and running down arms. Then there’s the co-ordinating tank and leggings and the all-over print dress with a flared skater hem, infused with positivity. In accessories, a tote bag, back pack and over-the-shoulder pouch bag have universal appeal, covered all over with striking typography, while sneakers in happy patterns add a touch of fun to even the plainest of outfits.
"Confident and colourful, this smile-inducing collection provides a dose of optimism for our younger customers thanks to the distinctive visual language of Lakwena. We’re thrilled to collaborate with an artist whose eye-catching work promotes positive messages of love, unity and empowerment, offering our young customers a unique opportunity to express themselves,” says Sofia Löfstedt, head of design and creative H&M kidswear.
As for Lakwena’s favourite item in the collection? She cites the “Small but mighty” slogan patch, which can be applied to any item. “I’m up for everyone being more resilient, so that patch is really satisfying,” she explains. She’s eager, too, to see how young people take on the positive vibes and make them their own. “I can’t wait to see the collection in all of these places, all over the world. It’s very exciting.”
The Lakwena X H&M kidswear collection will launch in stores and online at hm.com from July 6.