In January 2021, following a five-year hiatus, Alber Elbaz unveiled AZ Factory, a new luxury fashion brand. Developed by luxury goods holding company Richemont, the brand's comfortable dresses and graphic suits came in a plethora of sizes – a rather unusual occurrence in the realm of luxury fashion, but Elbaz wanted to make clothes that were versatile and flattering for all shapes and sizes.
Then, on 24 April 2021, Elbaz died suddenly from COVID-19. 'It was a great privilege watching Alber in his last endeavour as he worked to realise his dream of "smart fashion that cares." His inclusive vision of fashion made women feel beautiful and comfortable by blending traditional craftsmanship with technology — highly innovative projects which sought to redefine the industry," said Richemont founder and chairman Johann Rupert.
During his last weeks with the AZ Factory team, Elbaz created a collection called Free To. Acting as an encouragement to touch and be intimate after the end of the pandemic, colourful hoodies, tops and tracksuit bottoms are hand-embroidered with the words, 'love,' 'kiss' and 'hug.'
AZ Factory partnered with European textile company PYRATEX® on the development of a unique fleece fabric for the collection. Made from organic cotton and a biodegradable, carbon-neutral seaweed-blend, the fabric can help activate skin cell regeneration.
In keeping with the campaign’s message of love and freedom, AZ Factory will donate a portion of proceeds from all pieces embroidered with the word 'love' to the It Gets Better Project, an organisation focused on uplifting, empowering and connecting LGBTQ+ youth around the globe to help create a strong sense of self-worth.
The Free To collection launches on 23 June on AZFactory.com