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Waris Ahluwalia Talks His New Collaboration with Morgenthal Frederics

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Waris Ahluwalia really is a jack of all trades. His jewelry (both fine and RARE lines), his scarves and his capsule collections have been fashion hits; he’s taken on the mantle of creative director for the Luxury Collection Hotels and Resorts; he’s curated a portfolio of work by Ryan McGinley and Walton Ford; and of course, there is his acting and modeling career. So it should come as no surprise to anyone when Waris announces a new collaboration, this time creating a line of buffalo horn sunglasses with optician Morgenthal Frederics.

Waris took some time out of his extremely busy schedule to talk with us (via email) about his latest venture which, we have to admit, we’re very excited about.

theFashionSpot: How did this collab come about?

Waris x Morgenthal FredericsWaris Ahluwalia: I’ve been working with craftsmen for almost a decade now. My first goldsmith was in Rome—it’s where I fell in love and really understood the beauty of things made by hand. Over the years, I’ve worked with stone cutters, enamelers, carpenters, marble makers, weavers, loomers, batikers, silk screeners, embroiderers and the list goes on. House of Waris RARE was a way to bring that all together—not just in my work but the work of countless other craftsmen and designers from around the world. It is a celebration of craft—not just the objects but also the rare breed of individual that devotes their life to keeping traditions alive in the modern age. When Jeff told me about the completely handmade process behind a pair of the horn glasses, I knew we had to make a pair (or two).

tFS: Do you wear glasses yourself? Or just sunnies?

WA: Just sunglasses. I think when I get older I may need a monocle.

tFS: I love Morgenthal. What drew you to them?

WA: House of Waris RARE brings together designers, artists and brands from around the world in celebration of one-of-a-kind craftsmanship alive today. Each object in the space provides a gateway into a unique maker, process and story – opening up a world of love and devotion passed down from the hands of the maker into the hands of the explorer that crosses RARE’s path. Morgenthal embodies this tradition and approaches their work as I do, creating beautiful objects made by hand.

tFS: What can we expect out of this collaboration?

WA: All the pieces we select for RARE are objects that imbue living with a sense of excitement, charm and wonder. However, they’re not meant to be trophy pieces, they’re meant to be enjoyed, valued and celebrated as a viable economic force in today’s commercial landscape. We realize that the collector and consumer is a very important part of this equation. It is this person that acts as the patron. To support the work of the artisan. It is the only way craftsmanship can exist. It’s consumerism that’s just a little more considered. It’s a little more thoughtful. I know I can’t fight mass consumption and creation, but I can support an alternative way that can sit alongside those goods. In other words, buy them, wear them—repeat.

tFS: What’s next for you? You’ve done a bit of everything—what would you like to do next?

WA: Our new collection of jewelry, a partnership with DeBeers called House of Waris for Forevermark, will be out later this year. Of course we will continue to travel the world meeting with artisans so we can share their work with you.

As for exciting new plans, let’s go one step at a time. To borrow from Robert Burn’s poem:
The best laid schemes of mice and men
Oft go awry
And leave us nothing but grief and pain,
For promised joy!

The collaboration debuts Wednesday, July 30, on houseofwaris.com, and will be available for a limited time at Morgenthal Frederics Soho, (212) 966-0099.

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