Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Agi & Sam AW13

"MAN has been amazing for us. It has been a showcase where we've been able to really attack and attempt to try different areas of fashion whilst showing us what we really need to do with the brand to grow it," Sam Cotton excitedly explains as we meet to take a closer look at Agi & Sam autumn/winter 13. Whilst exploring and celebrating the eccentricities of a British country collection in a way only this dazzling design duo would, the collection marked an accomplished final bow at the emerging talent showcase that is MAN and demonstrated just how far they've come. "This final season was all about quality and maturity, without losing our integrity." Like the considered garments and accessories allude to on the rails, even this succinct sentence oozes maturity.

There has been a definite and discernible evolution in their design signatures from when we were first peered through their mind altering print prism at the Fashion East Installations back in February 2011. Ever pushing the other forward,  we've watched on as the print princes soon graduated from their starring roles within the Fashion East showcase on to the stage of MAN and the label now stands at the forefront of all that is exciting about London Collections: Men. Despite winning plaudits and stockists alike with their vivid prints, eye for colour and undeniable sense of humour, the duo continue to refine and mature.

"It's always a development process but we really pushed ourselves this season. We're not competitive people but we always want to out do ourselves each season and improve on the last. From spending a lot of time on the little things like the fusing, finding the right canvas and the finishing on the inside including the labels, everything had to be as good as it can be.

In addition to to this competitive hunger, the design dynamic that bubbles and bounces between the two friends has been the catalyst that has driven the label forward and seen it blossom before our eyes. Two disciplines and backgrounds, Agi's in tailoring and Sam's in print, have mingled, boundaries and distinctions playfully blurred and ultimately spurred on consistent shared strives forward. Cotton noted on our first meeting that "the naivety of each others discipline can work as an advantage. A question or an idea could take a piece in a completely different direction." The pair are involved in everything together. It is a lasting collaboration in every sense. With each collection, they both learn off of each other and collectively push each piece as much as they can. Their quick learning and hard work has paid off this season.

"Agi & Sam has in a way been our child. It really relates to ourselves and our personalities at the time. When we started two years ago we were two years younger, and had very different tastes to what we have now, although the core still remains, we still want to poke fun at fashion and have fun with our collections."

From the Fresh Prince to the Day of the Dead, 80s detectives to the eve of the apocalypse, we're used to wandering the disorientating landscape of their shared mishmash of a mind. For their latest concoction, Agi & Sam were drawn to the eccentric world of the Marquess of Bath, wandered the rooms of stately homes and admired the soft furnishings whilst daydreaming about David Hockney before duly reimagining their own English aristocracy. For me, the oddball, class clown of their early collections is now a sharp witted chap. Sam Cotton talks us through the evolution of the Agi & Sam man, his voicing softening to mimic David Attenborough...

"I would determine that he was the guy that hung out in East London and wanted to be seen wearing a big ole' jazzy red jacket in Alibi (Homo Jazzyus). Then he realised that maybe that red jacket was a bit too red, so he tried it in a different colourway, something a bit more Mexican to wear at Efes (Homo Senioritis). Then after then we realised that as the prints were so loud that maybe the jacket shouldn't have unusual cuts and focus more on traditional tailoring, throwing a repeat of a duck and chicken on to wear over a jacket at the park in Summer (Homo Chillinoutabitis). After releasing that some days he wasn't too keen on wearing print all over his body so he decided to get a pair of printed socks to wear under his jeans and worked out a way of pairing them down (Homo Tomselleckis). Then came the latest Agi & Sam man (Homo classicus) This man wants a bit of a colour in his life, but doesn't need to cover himself in it."

Homo classicus is still the most colourfully dressed man in the room but there is a subtlety, a quiet confidence to his well tailored attire that commands attention and delivers admiration. "There is so much detail this season from pocket squares to engraved tie pins, so many more finishings. The collections is bright and colourful but in a more mature way." There's that word again, mature. Don't be afraid of it. Mature often blurs in the mind with words like responsible, dull, safe and reliable but this Agi & Sam is anything but expected and grey. Peering through their ever evolving kaleidoscope is still a trippy experience but the clothes themselves really deliver passed the initial fun and frivolity. Don't take my word for it, take a peek at the collection and get drunk on the details of my closeups alongside the Luke Stephenson shot 'How to wear' AW13...

Our own detail shots. 
'How to wear' AW13 look book shot by Luke Stephenson and styled by Agi & Sam.

As two new designers excitedly await to fill one of the two vacant but still hot seats on the MAN lineup, they should would do well to emulate how Agi & Sam have built on their early promise to become one of London Collections: Men leading stars. "We've gone from obscurity in to being on the front page of the Telegraph which I still find completely bizarre," Cotton explains as he reflects on the impact of MAN. "I think it has helped us realise how we want to sit as a brand. Coming out of it this season has left us with an impression of how we'd like to use everything we have learnt in the last twelve months with MAN and release a collection that stands as we'd like it to." Considered yet surprising. Subtle yet dazzling. Mature yet exciting. Agi & Sam are justifiably standing proud and so many long to stand alongside them.


Mr. Hare said...

Ayo, I need some of them hitS !!

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Anonymous said...

Cool post Man!
Impressive colours and clothes' choice, i really like the way you match and mix the different materials and syles, Well Done.

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Good luck, and Keep it up!!!!

Sana Safinaz Lawn said...

Adorable! The aforementioned gifs are astonishing as well. I love the Santa Monica dress, the greater part of the beautiful polka dabs are cute.

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Peter George said...

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I saw your blog its really nice and there are so many branded collection.Really i like that. Thanks for post this blog

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Violeta said...

Nice gallery , i love especially the last suits... there very cute and classy!


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