Angelina Jolie made news last week when it was announced that the Maria Callas biopic by director Pablo Lorrain (of Spencer and Jackie fame) that she’s set to star in will be shopped at the Cannes Film Festival in the south of France. But that isn’t her biggest headline of the month. This is: The actress, director, and former United Nations goodwill ambassador and special envoy is launching Atelier Jolie, a new purpose-driven brand that will utilize deadstock and tap into the abilities of “refugees and other talented, under-appreciated groups, with positions of dignity based on skill.”
Jolie posted the news on her Instagram account this morning, writing, “I’m starting something new today—a collective where everyone can create… Atelier Jolie is a place for creative people to collaborate with a skilled and diverse family of expert tailors, pattern makers, and artisans from around the world. It stems for my appreciation and deep respect for the many tailors and makers I’ve worked with over the years, a desire to make use of the high quality vintage material and deadstock material already available, and also to be part of a movement to cultivate more self-expression.”
Jolie’s own self-expression leans toward monochrome, minimal, mostly anonymous designs (save for accessories) that ensure that the story is about her, not the fashion she’s wearing. Nonetheless, her personal style has been the subject of countless online articles, many on this website. What she wears to the airport, her shoes, her crop tops—all of it has driven millions of clicks over the years. More recently, her fashion choices, and those of her teenage children, have emphasized the value of rewearing and recycling old clothes. At the premiere of her Marvel film, Eternals, her daughters Shiloh and Zahara wore pieces from their mom’s archive.
More than 100 million tons of textile waste dead-end in landfills every year. Atelier Jolie seems designed to address that crisis. According to the brand website: “You will be able to repair or upcycle pieces from your closet you wish to revive, perfecting fit, breathing new life into what could have been thrown away, and creating quality heirloom garments with personal meaning.”
The mention of refugees is intriguing given the end last week of Title 42, a pandemic-era measure that allowed authorities to quickly turn back migrants on public health grounds. The U.S. could see record numbers of asylum seekers moving forward. Whatever Atelier Jolie becomes, Jolie is particularly well-placed to disrupt in this area. Amidst her acting and directing, she spent two decades working for the UN Refugee Agency, carrying out over 60 field missions, most recently to Yemen and Burkina Faso, that built awareness about people who are forced to flee. Also, in a 2015 op-ed in The Times of London co-authored by Arminka Helic she criticized government inaction, arguing that the growth of displaced people is “unsustainable and beyond what international humanitarian organizations can manage.” We’ll be watching the brand’s new Instagram account @atelierjolieofficial for updates.
View this post on Instagram
Originally published in Vogue.com