London Fashion Week is the pinnacle of sartorial splendour that seduces fashion aficionados throughout the world. Hosted by the British Fashion Council (BFC) twice a year, the week features the best mash-up of well-known designers, up-and-coming artists, and avant-garde innovators. This prestigious occasion acts as a melting pot of artistic expression and ethnic diversity in addition to setting the tone for upcoming fashion trends. London is transformed into a fashion mecca where enthusiasts flock to watch the emergence of creative wonders, from the basement of a Vinyl shop in Soho to the opulent splendour of Somerset House.
One of the week's most prominent and anticipated shows was the Spring/Summer show of Sagaboi, founded by Geoff K. Cooper. Debuting onto the London Fashion Week scene earlier this year, Sagaboi describes themselves as a men’s fashion brand linked to the Caribbean subculture “saga boy”, meaning “playboy” or one who dresses stylishly or fashionably, it was a term coined in the 1930s as a form of masculine rebellion through the usage of fashion. Cooper's collection, "Fresh off the Boat", reflects the “saga boy” subculture and resounds with the idea of inclusion. Cooper reclaims the phrase “fresh off the boat”, once widely used as a pejorative to reimagine 'arrivals' as people who have just stepped off a boat with a new look. The patterns he uses urge individuals to take the lead with pride and assurance by presenting a positive vision of what is possible, putting a new spin on what was once a condemnation.
The show itself was thought out to the very finest of details with the location of the show being a collaboration with the Museum of London, Docklands, becoming part of a celebration of the 75th anniversary of the SS Empire Windrush that brought Caribbean immigrants and culture to the United Kingdom. The importance of this location lies in the designer's family's history. The Coopers were one of five families with young children aboard the ship, leading Geoff to make the creative decision to pay homage to the ship and the time to memorialise this momentous occasion. Ornaments associated to the ocean, including rope and dishevelled fabric, were draped around the venue in the almost sea-wreck-inspired atmosphere, complimenting the solid wooden floors, and bringing into conversation with the materials chosen by the brand that clothed the models.
Photos by @_smallbig and @quotesxstyles
The colour palette displays a range of tropical colours of bold reds, blues, and yellows, contrasting with pastel tones of lilac, mint, and peach. Meanwhile, Sagaboi's branding, and the intensity of steel pan culture echo the instrument. The brand's iconic steel pan bomber was adapted with gilets in Sagaboi's distinctive faded steel pan quilting and rough island stitchwork for warmer weather. A steel pan vest made its way down the runway in a variety of colours[BJNH5] . Reactions were ones of awe from the intimate audience of friends and family of both Geoff and those involved in the creation of the show. The show ended with the adorable work from a 5-year-old Kamari, the son of Geoff’s close friend, followed by Geoff himself, a testament to just how involved Geoff is in his brand and his appreciation for the support that surrounds him.
Meanwhile, the materials available in the nearby fishing villages inspired the knitwear, which was all created by women in the Caribbean. Cooper provided co-ords in denim, linen, raw silk, Sea Island cotton, and suede as summer uniforms. In addition, Cooper continues the wordplay from last season by adding well-known West Indian colloquial slang and vernacular to slogan teas and reissuing its Big Big Tings t-shirt in softer hues.
Photo by @_smallbig and @quotesxstyles
Sagaboi also partnered with Ukrainian accessories brand ètape to deliver a line of beautiful, vibrant bags painted in London by a Ukrainian artist, with the Sagaboi's village design on them. The two brands complemented each other immensely with the bold yellows and reds of ètape melding against the similarly striking colour palette of Sagaboi. On Instagram, Cooper stated:
“when the idea of collaborating with Ukrainian leather brand ètape emerged, it felt natural, Sagaboi’s SS24 collection riffed on the responses to migration and immigration (be it forced or facilitated), and the parallels between Windrush, 75 years ago and migration today of Ukrainians due to the war were glaring That we get to collaborate and make something beautiful and of significant meaning, supporting benevolent intentions is a gift.”
His statement alone perfectly encompasses what Sagaboi is, that being a dialogue with history. Sagaboi draws empathy towards the ongoing hardships of the world of today via reclamation of identity and narrative.
I had the pleasure of assisting the show with the PR and communications side of things. It was one of the most incredible experiences I’ve had, to meet like-minded individuals who are just as creative and passionate about fashion was incredibly inspirational. It was no easy task, having been only my second PR event. Keeping the vibe positive felt like juggling blindfolded in sub-zero temperatures. Yet, I managed to keep my cool, with compliments flooding my DM’s and emails following the show. Having heard such kind thoughts has only encouraged me to work harder and go further.
Sagaboi’s SS24 collection proved the fashion label's dedication to originality and creativity, whilst celebrating the cultural fusion of the Caribbean in the UK. It was an unforgettable experience, I only hope Sagaboi will grow larger and larger.
Edited by Barney Nuttall, Deputy Editor in Chief