Written by William Oliver
Over the past few seasons, menswear has been evolving in leaps and bounds. Long gone are the days when 'simple and clean' are words that commonly associated with a designer's latest offering. Men have become acutely aware of personality when it comes to their wardrobe choices, developing a forthright sense of confidence.
A number of designers are leading this shift, creating clothes that maintain a sense of discretion and masculinity, while at the same time being imbued with fun and enjoyment. One such duo are London's current menswear favourites Agape Mdumulla and Sam Cotton, better known as Agi & Sam. "Our premise is to never take fashion too seriously, and to have fun with it. I think we try and promote our sense of humour through our collection, so it often can feel like quite a personal thing," they explain.
While some of their print and design choices may be far from average, everything from kids oven food to oversized tartans and mallard ducks have featured since they started just four seasons ago, they are still very much focused on designing clothes that are wearable. "It's a really hard line to try and play with. We want to keep maturing, but then we worry that there is such a fine line to cross which can end up making a collection boring".
The pair's foray into statement print, which is featured on tailoring and more sportswear inspired pieces, has been celebrated far and wide, subsequently propelling them rapidly through the ranks and leading them to be heralded as one of the most inspiring talents to recently emerge from London's consistently boundary-pushing pool of creativity. Championed by the likes of menswear writer and editor Charlie Porter alongside GQ's Dylan Jones, it would be easy to get caught up in their own hype, but Agi and Sam remain grounded and aware of what they are doing and where they are going. "We don't really have the time to think about it that much, there is so much to sort out and so much going on that if you sit back and think about it for too long, your legs will get taken from under you," they say humbly. "The strangest part of it all is when we think that just over a year ago, we were working on Agi's living room floor and watching Jeremy Kyle every day".
For Agi & Sam's Spring Summer 13 collection, the inspiration came directly from a shared experience of visiting their respective grandparent's houses. With such a strong visual iconography and references embedded in how these designers design, we decided to bring them together with director Edward Housden to make us a film that got to the bottom of their creative process. "The concept came from talking to Agi and Sam about their trips to see their grandparents when they were kids; they would be subjected to a plethora of 80's cop shows like Miami Vice," explains Housden. "They said they didn't want to do something traditionally 'cool and fashiony' and were up for something with a sense of humour. I wanted create a tension, a sense that at any moment someone might crack and erupt in violence, but all the while the grandmother goes about her business as usual. There is something unsettling about a room full of these contrasting people, all sitting in silence."
Taking more than just a touch of creative license, the resulting short is a pure explanation of Agi & Sam's work, delivered in the shape of the detective TV programmes they remember so well.
Tags: Agi & Sam