Born into slavery, William “Bill” Traylor spent much of his life after the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation working as a farm labourer in rural Alabama, and, later, as a shoemaker and factory worker in Montgomery. It was only then, homeless and in his eighties, that Traylor began making drawings and paintings on paper, using gouache and other media. His works, depicting cats and dogs, rabbits, street figures, dancers, and other characters, are visually striking, simple and yet powerful. Traylor’s vibrant imagery and colour palette inspire and compose the patterns created for our Autumn-Winter 2020 collection.


Traylor left behind more than one thousand works of art and he is regarded today as one of the most important American artists of the twentieth century. We named the collection Freedom Blues. Blues as in the electric, deep colour Traylor has so brilliantly used and is known for. Blues as in the music from the American South. Freedom, which was something Traylor surely did not take for granted, and which is still a reason of concern for each and every one of us today. Traylor would not live to see the civil rights movement but he was contemporary to those who laid its foundation. To those, then, agents of social change and to those acting today we wish to pay homage.