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Ashley Williams on the power of nostalgic fashion


by Holly O'Neill
16th Jul 2020
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Designer Ashley Williams on the power of nostalgia in fashion


Nostalgic fashion is in the DNA of the Ashley Williams brand. Her AW20 show was rife with it; there were touristy t-shirts, resplendent with fringe, beads and graffiti of dogs, the Mona Lisa and Einstein. There were her signature slogan tees (this season stating “In Dog Years I’m Dead” and “Life is Pain”) and as always, her show-stealing bedazzled hair clips (this season they say “weed”). There were marabou feathers, ra-ra skirts, puffball dresses and to round it all off, there was Pixie Geldof walking down the runway holding a flip phone.

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Backstage at Ashley Williams AW20

Or to be more specific, the new Samsung Galaxy Z Flip, who Ashley Williams has collaborated with to create an accessory collection inspired by the most nostalgic item of all.

“These references are something I am inherently drawn to – my designs are informed by my experiences, making the process very intuitive to what I naturally gravitate to emotionally,” says the London-based designer. “There are certain elements and references that I grew up with that have definitely made their way back into my designs and will probably continue to do so. I think this is why the collaboration with the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip was such a perfect fit for me, there is something so nostalgic about bringing back the flip phone.”

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Ashley Williams AW20

“This collaboration was able to bring the whole vision to play for our AW20 show. Technology is so intertwined with how we live our lives and express ourselves, it was amazing to be able to add this element to the collection and bring the vision together and have it fit so well with the new Galaxy Z Flip phone. Technology plays a big role in my day to day, both for work and in general. I’m excited to see what is in store for technology and fashion.”

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Ashley Williams AW20

She has created a hair clip and a bespoke microbag, shown above (the perfect microbag accessories to any flip phone), key accessories at her London Fashion Week show amid fluffy slippers and beanie hats.

Related: Hair dressing – the expert guide to styling your hair with accessories

In an era where we’ve seen the revival of the dad sandal, the fanny pack, the scrunchie and Doc Martens, Ashley Williams’ fleeces, graphic tees and hairclips are catnip for millennials obsessed with throwbacks and reminders of better times.

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 Ashley Williams AW20

“For myself, ‘nostalgic fashion’ references back to a very beautiful and significant period in life – coming of age,” says Ashley. “At the time I was finding myself as an individual, discovering what I aligned myself with. These items symbolise that time and hold sentiment. It is such a pure and vital space in time, that is empowering to revisit even to this day. I think that through reintroducing these nostalgic items into my own collections, I will invite people to revisit those special times in their own lives and what they meant for them.”

Fashion photography by Jason Lloyd Evans.

Read more: My favourite French vintage shop is having an online sale: here’s what I’ve got my eye on

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