When Puma tapped Solange Knowles as an art director and creative consultant to curate the Girls of Blaze Disc Collection, a line based off the brand's iconic footwear, Knowles immediately knew the kind of girl her picks would speak to: one with effortlessly cool style and an unabashed love for neon.
"I really wanted to make a collection that spoke to the girl like me, that may not historically be a sneaker chick, but loves style and has fun with fashion," Knowles tells InStyle.com exclusively. She also enlisted a few of her fellow designer friends—Gerlan Marcel of Gerlan Jeans, artist and photographer Hisham Bharoocha, and Darlene and Lizzy Okpo of William Okpo—to add their own personal touch to the classic disc sneakers, which were transformed into works of art in a range of neon colors, and drew inspiration from Brazil.
Now that the collection has been re-stocked in select stores (the collection sold out at Opening Ceremony back in February!), we spoke to Knowles herself to get the insider scoop on the sneaker collaboration, plus what other projects she has coming up.
Brazil is one of the most expressive places in the world when it comes to color, prints, and textiles. The energy, the music, the vibrancy of the country are all things we wanted to speak to with the collection, and I think myself and the designers all connect with that in our daily lives.
What was the collaboration process like with the other designers?
I've been friends with each of the designers for quite a while now, and have been lucky enough to collaborate with them individually on other projects. When Puma and I first started to talk about collections, I really wanted to choose designers who were able to bring their own distinct style DNAs and aesthetics to the collection to represent the different faces of the Girls of Blaze; however it was my job as the artistic director for the collection to work alongside each of them to make sure the line was still a cohesive collection as well.
As art director and creative consultant at Puma, what are you bringing to the brand that it never had before?
Puma is such an iconic brand, and between the collaborations they have done to date including the Alexander McQueen line, the Hussein Chalayan collection, and the Kehinde Wiley Project, they have mastered the art of collaborations. I really had in mind the young creative woman while creating the collection and really wanted to celebrate that.
What were the inspirations behind the Girls of Blaze Disc Collection ad campaigns?
Working on the campaigns has been one of my favorite parts in my role. I've always been really passionate about my own shoots, album packaging, and website design, and so being able to apply that perspective for Puma and be behind the camera has been awesome. Each campaign has been very different -- some taking a more laid-back lifestyle approach celebrating beautiful and inspiring women I know, to the latest one that we did in New Orleans that was really about color explosions through different pretty pop-inspired images. (Ed. note: like the one above.) I spent a lot of time conjuring up set-ups and images in my head, and then working with an awesome team to bring them to life.
Do you have any future projects coming up aside from this collection?
I'm finishing my next album as we speak, as well as running my record label, Saint Records, and our new project Saint Heron; playing Coachella and New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival soon, and continuing to being mom to my 9-year-old.
Want more Solange? Check out her best looks in our gallery!