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Freedom, slow living and time on our side. The new COMMAS AW21 collection sounds good, feels good: free flowing harem pants, oversized shirts for maximum comfort and hand-painted prints featuring idyllic sailing scenes. Richard Jarman took the collection to the Kimberly region of Western Australia, where the COMMAS crew explored clifftops near Broome and Kooljaman, and a remote wilderness camp owned by the local indigenous Bardi Jawi community. We spoke to Jarman for the AW21 lowdown:

We love the new collection. When did the idea of ‘slow travel’ come to you as the main source of inspiration?

“It’s funny, the closing of the Australian boarders made me think much more intentionally about where I wanted to travel and that’s what really unlocked the idea of slow travel and decision to focus on this.

Why did you choose to shoot the campaign on a road trip across The Kimberly region? What is it about there that is perfect for COMMAS?

“There was a number of factors that lead to road trip across the Kimberley, firstly I wanted to travel somewhere I had never been before and really bring this concept to life. We stayed in camp sites as well as within Indigenous communities and of course airbnbs, and for the first time we could really slow down a process that is often rushed. To add to this, the regions back drop of the red earth meeting the turquoise ocean and the perfect climate made it an easy choice (I don’t think the average temperature dropped much past 30 degrees the whole timewe were there).”

What were you listening to/reading/watching when you began to create this collection?

"Not that our road trip had any parallels what so ever with this but I re-watched The Motorcycle Diaries when we were in lock-down and I can’t, not recommend it here.”

Do you hand-paint the prints yourself?

“I wish I could paint that well! We have two artists that we work with each season, Pedro Garcia and Jason Gibson. The mood board was vintage prints, paintings and travellers’ journals. Travel itself brings a sense of adventure, curiosity and optimism.”

How has the story of COMMAS evolved with this collection?

“I’m realising more than ever that what we have here in Australia is incredibly unique. We’ve always had a strong European influence, but I feel more than ever we are digging down into our own roots – and that’s what this collection is all about. That’s why it was so important to shoot it here, in such an iconic Australian destination.”

Sustainability is such an important factor - how is this collection sustainable?

“Firstly, everything is designed in our carbon positive studio here in Sydney, from there swimwear is made of recycled Spanish polyamide, the paisley jacquard and ottoman fabrics are deadstock vintages from Japan, we also use organic cotton too. Then we make to order to minimise waste, the manufacturing takes place at our Sydney factory which accredited with Ethical Clothing Australia.”

Is there a piece you are most proud of?

“Honestly when it comes to what I personally wear, I love the classic pieces. Pieces like the linen robe have reappear in each collection since our second season and continue to be some of my favourite styles. This season we’ve introduced the Resort Shirt, which is a new classic. I’ve been wearing it non-stop and I really love the way it makes me feel.”

Who is the ultimate COMMAS muse you’d love to see wearing this collection?

“I have so many muses that I print out and stick on the walls of the studio, it’s funny as I look around most of them never have a name, they are usually older people enjoying life somewhere on the coast, the one thing that most of them have in common is they look very content being exactly where they are and sun kissed.”

How do you hope people feel when wearing COMMAS AW21?

“Firstly, comfortable, and then more inspired to explore their surroundings, to travel to places they have never been to before (even if within their own country), stay for longer and try and learn more about the real traditions and history of that place.”

Photography by James Giles.