agi & sam autumn/winter 15
From discovering long lost doodles to canvassing the developing minds of their primary schools and research trips to Toys “R” Us and Hamleys, Agi & Sam released their inner child.
With energetic prints, exploding coats and plenty of tailoring tricks complemented by a masked mass of lego, crafted by i-D Beauty Isamaya Ffrench, Agi & Sam invited us on a playdate deep inside their collective child's imagination.
The catalyst for the collection's energy sparked from the duo's trip to Yorkshire and the surprise exploration of Agi's design sketches. He might have scribbled the aptly named Coolman Collection as a four year old but Mrs Mdumulla had kept them safe, they were precious. "I completely forgot that I created them, but I do remember designing something as a kid and being really proud of them at the time," Agi smiles backstage. And how did he feel looking back over them with designer's eyes? "I feel the same, they show promise," he laughs. It was this sense of promise that the design duo founded the collection on. Returning to their old primary schools, they squeezed themselves into the tiny chairs and spoke to the children, asking them what they did and didn't like about clothes before channelling their creativity into puzzle and print tasks. In the classroom, coats and jackets were ripped apart and put back together with Velcro and on the catwalk, reimagined patchworks formed entirely new outerwear, with Velcro at their interchangeable heart. Throughout, the pair play with contruction with tailoring turned inside out to reveal its inner workings whilst trousers mixing a cocktail of wool have their lining revealed. There's discovery at every turn, just look.
"We wanted to try something new and push ourselves beyond our comfort zone," Agi adds. "Over time, we've realised who we are and what we need to do. This is what we feel we should have done at the very beginning but we've learned so much." In recent seasons the design duo have undoubtedly evolved from their early signature emphasis on entirely bespoke print and infectious humour but for autumn/winter 15, there was a confidence in themselves and their ability to inject a bit more fun and personality back into it. "We always want to have fun with clothes," he adds. With Coolman, they've had the most fun, like two kids let loose in the menswear equivalent of a sweet shop. As I reluctantly move away from Agi & Sam's play pen, I can't help but have Picasso's oft quoted words bounce around my brain, "Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up." Here's to Agi & Sam staying in their fruitful Neverland.