“The art of collaboration has always been important to fashion, collaboration has historically always been a part of fashion,” said Iceberg creative director James Long. “Collaboration takes you to places you might not normally go, and it’s good for helping make a brand a bit more global.”
The Italian ready-to-wear label recently tapped artist Kailand O. Morris, son of legendary musician Stevie Wonder and fashion designer Kai Milla, for a co-designed capsule collection. The new collection is an exploration and culture and brings together Iceberg’s sport-luxe vibe with a hype psychedelic spin brought by Morris.
Morris was no stranger to working with Iceberg. He had walked in several of the brand’s runway shows and has also been featured in the brand’s ad campaigns, and co-hosted events, including one for the release of a co-designed T-shirt last fall in benefit of the Watts Empowerment Center in Los Angeles. Morris is a prominent figure on Instagram, where he’s gained popularity for uploading style posts, so he’s found a fanbase among both the fashion and art communities.
“Collaborating with Kailand was so natural,” Long said. “He was very interested in the process of design. He loved coming to the studio and seeing how the clothes happen. I’ve always admired his style.”
The production for the collaboration began last year during the coronavirus pandemic, and while that might sound challenging, Long was used to designing and coordinating production even when he couldn’t be physically present with a design team somewhere.
“I’m quite used to designing like this in a way,” Long explained. “In a way it’s beneficial in that you have more time to communicate and think between calls and e-mails. Although, things can be lost in translation between a phone call and e-mail, in this case I was lucky I had an established relationship with the people I was collaborating with.”
For Morris, this was a collaboration he had practically been dreaming about since he was young as a longtime fan of Iceberg.
“My interest has been sparked to work with Iceberg ever since I was walking the shows and getting to know James Long,” Morris recalled. “Also, growing up, I saw all the old school rappers rocking the Iceberg T-shirts and sweatshirts.”
In addition to his fashion projects, Morris has become very focused on art as he builds a name for himself as a contemporary artist. He felt that working Iceberg was a great complement to his burgeoning artistic endeavors, and the intersection of fashion and art has long been at the core of his creative side. Morris had previously interned at Dior under Kim Jones, who is a major proponent of the intersection of art and fashion having brought many artists in Dior’s fold, including KAWS and Stussy. This taught Morris the power of bringing together two creative hemispheres.
“For my inspiration for this collection, I went to this hotel in Cabo, and I loved the way they designed the rooms, and the fluidity, and even how we got to the ocean from the hotel, and this informed how I designed the collection,” Morris explained. “With all the work I do, I want there to be a meaning or message behind it. Through that meaning, I find my inspiration color and fit wise, and my ideas just grow from there.”
Morris also said that the mentorship he got from working with James Long was extremely valuable. “James has so much knowledge in fashion, he really guided me,” Morris reminisced. “He steered me in the right direction, and I got so much advice from him about how to go about things with working on my first collection. I’ve been around fashion for so long, but this was a game changing moment. Our two minds work so well together, and we could bounce back and forth off each other so easily.”