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The Legacy Collection: Remembering Designer Nicholas Coutts


Over a year ago, the fashion world mourned the loss of one of South Africa's most promising young designers. Nicolas Coutts was only 28 when he passed away in May of 2019. In honor of Nicholas Coutts, The Folklore teamed up with his estate to release a legacy collection that offers one-off archive pieces from the designer's most celebrated collections.

Nicolas Coutts began his design journey in high school, having learned how to weave from his mother who owned a crafts shop. Eventually, he dropped out of school to pursue design full time and entered the Cape Town’s Design Academy of Fashion. In his final year, he won the prestigious ELLE Magazine Rising Star 2013 award, which gave him the opportunity to have a catwalk show at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg and the opportunity to design a capsule collection for high street retailer Mr Price.

In 2014, Coutts launched his brand, based around his DIY woven aesthetic and which took inspiration from the Arts and Crafts movement. He was known for his heavily textured fabrics, which were often woven together from an assortment of sustainable materials. He once told Nataal Magazine that he felt hand weaving was more honest than traditional manufacturing as, "weaving takes a long time, and that’s what makes the results so special.”

In order to honor his legacy, the Folklore has put together a series of some of Coutts's most compelling work. These pieces capture Coutt's impeccable attention to detail, as well as his ability to combine hand-woven textures, bold colors, and ornate textile patterns. His design inspirations ranged from the urban to the natural, from gendered to fluid. Selected from a variety of his collections, the following pieces demonstrate just how versatile Coutts was.

To celebrate the release of the Nicholas Coutts Legacy Collection we compiled clips from a never before seen interview with Nicholas Coutts in his Cape Town studio.

 Edited by Vanessa Serrano + Raven Irabor 

Nicholas Coutts AW 18 Collection
Nicholas Coutts AW 18 Collection

Autumn/Winter 2018

The Crystal Pools Tunic, the Blue Pleated Accordion Skirt, the Scarf Print A-Line Skirt, the Scarf Print Crewneck Top, the Scarf Print Stripe Top, and the Scarf Print Button Down Shirt are originally from Nicholas Coutts's Fall/Winter 2018 collection. This collection took inspiration from the Bainskloof crystal pools of the Western Cape. Coutts sought to translate the rock pools and waterfalls into the textiles and textures of this collection.

Nicholas Coutts Blue Print Dress

Shop the Crystal Pools Tunic

Nicholas Coutts

Shop the Blue Pleated Accordion Skirt

Nicholas Coutts Scarf Print A-Line Skirt

Shop the Scarf Print A-Line Skirt

Scarf Print Crewneck Top

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Nicholas Coutts Scarf Print Stripe Top

Shop the Scarf Print Stripe Top

Nicholas Coutts Scarf Print Button Down Shirt

Shop the Scarf Print Button Down Shirt

Nicholas Coutts A/W 18 Collection
Nicholas Coutts A/W 18 Collection

Spring/Summer 2017

The Burgundy Jacquard Printed Shirt Shirt, the Blue Jacquard Printed Jacket, and the Tripple Pocket Shirt are originally from Nicholas Coutts's Spring/Summer 2016/17 collection. This collection explored the dichotomy between urbanism and naturalism. It was comprised of strong masculine silhouettes and traditional African textile patterns. 

Nicholas Coutts Burgundy Jacquard Printed Shirt

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Nicholas Coutts Blue Jacquard Printed Jacket

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Nicholas Coutts Tripple Pocket ShirtShop the Tripple Pocket Shirt

Fall/Winter 2019

The Tweed Printed Jacket is originally from Nicholas Coutts's Fall/Winter 2019 collection. This collection was called "Cape Flora Kingdom" and is inspired by the native flowers of South Africa. The collection accordingly included florals and bold reds and oranges, as well as incorporated Coutts's signature woven knit look. 

Nicholas Coutts Tweed Printed Jacket

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Words by Natalie Jarret