Highsnobiety

Since graduating from Central Saint Martins in 2016, South London designer Richard Quinn has left an indelible mark on the fashion world.

Quinn's designs fuse punk and couture elements, fearlessly playing with prints, colors, and silhouettes—it’s a style that's uniquely his own and has even caught the attention of royalty. The turning point of Quinn's career arrived at his 2018 LFW show when a surprise guest—Queen Elizabeth II herself—graced the front row. He was then presented with the Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design, an annual prize for an emerging designer who shows exceptional talent and originality while demonstrating value to the community and strong, sustainable policies. Speaking of royalty, Scotch whisky brand Royal Salute was born in Speyside, Scotland, in 1953, as a tribute to the Queen on her coronation, solidifying its connection to heritage and history.

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Quinn has collaborated with brands like Tommy Hilfiger and Moncler and dressed celebrities for the Met Gala, but closer to his roots, Quinn's Peckham studio serves as a DIY nurturing ground for emerging designers, offering workshops and screen-printing services. After a successful first collaboration, Quinn is teaming up once again with Royal Salute on three floral bottles and an accompanying six-piece clothing capsule. The all-new limited Royal Salute 21 Year Old Richard Quinn Edition II is a collector's dream, boasting unique colorways that bring to life Quinn and Royal Salute's personalities. It's not just the design that Quinn helped with, though. The artist teamed up with Royal Salute's Master Blender, Sandy Hyslop, to bring his personality into the blend to further his connection to the collaboration. To learn more about the release, we visited Quinn in his South London studio.

Quinn greets us, dressed casually in a cap and sneakers, and dives straight into matters, talking about the show where the first seeds of the collaboration were planted. "We try to make [our shows] kind of escapist. We'd have an orchestra, and all our clothes are quite extra, so you'd have big floral prints, big silhouettes. There's always that kind of level of trying to create a bit of drama and a bit of the world of how we present our work," Quinn explains. Royal Salute attended the show and, taken in by Quinn’s vision, approached him afterward. "They approached us to see how we could bring the two worlds together. The idea was to bring fantasy, heritage, and fashion all together into one product."

When Quinn started to design the collection, he recognized that Royal Salute enthusiasts share a passion for unique and collectible items. "Everyone I've met that’s really into the Royal Salute brand, they're similar to the people that buy our clothes. They really like to collect unique things."

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In crafting this collection, the goal was clear: to create three distinct bottles, each a collector's item in its own right. “We really wanted to give the person who buys it an experience,” he continues. “The overall vision for the collection was to make it fun, engaging, and collectible. Each bottle has a different colorway, so each one is a personality in itself, but they also work great together as a collection, offering the unique taste of the whisky we developed."

Beyond aesthetics, the collaboration delves into the realm of taste, quite literally. When it comes to flavor, Royal Salute is at the top of its game with a prestigious minimum age of 21 years per blend. Quinn was actively involved in crafting the drink’s unique blend, revealing, "I've always drank whisky when I was out, but more as a mixer to something. Doing this collaboration has really opened my eyes to drinking whisky." He continues, "You really start to be educated on the different notes and flavors. So, with this one, we really wanted to have a different nose on it. We have different notes of mango, banana, and that kind of creamy vanilla fudge and cinnamon-type nose to it. And then, with the palate, we were looking for that real rich and fruity strawberry jam, pear, and peach taste to it as well. And then at the end, it's got that complex and smooth finish with a whisper of smoke in there as well.''

The floral theme of the collab ties together the capsule collection and the whisky bottles. Quinn elaborates on the relationship between silhouette and print: "I always find it interesting how the shape of a garment can dictate the mood of the print. I think the biggest challenge of the collaboration was getting the prints to wrap around the bottle. But once we'd had a few tries, it wasn't really a challenge—it was actually quite fun."

In this fresh blend of fashion and heritage, Richard Quinn and Royal Salute have given us a taste of the extraordinary. It's a multisensory celebration of creativity and the unexpected that lingers long after the final sip.

To find out more about the collaboration and Royal Salute, head here.

Enjoy Royal Salute responsibly

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