We caught up with Agi & Sam to talk about that show, how they bring different elements of their expertise to the design table and why ready-to-wear collections are so vital for our generation of designers and consumers.
How and where did you meet?
We met whilst interning at Alexander McQueen in 2008, Agi on the design side, and Sam working as a print intern.
When did you realise you where the perfect team, what drove you to collaborate together?
It was probably more necessity to be honest. We never really had these grand ambitions of one day working together, but we graduated right into the recession, where jobs were scarce and the jobs that were available just didn’t appeal to us. So instead of interning for who knows how long, we decided to put our skills together and work for ourselves.
You’ve both worked under really prestigious designers such as Alexander McQueen, Karl Lagerfeld and J.W Anderson do you think this has influenced the way you design and think?
I think McQueen definitely had to be the most inspiring place. The way they utilise and maximise on their research was truly mind blowing. When I was at university,
I got taught to learn how to be a designer, and how to find my voice, but they never really focussed on the importance of research, and how to use it. So McQueen was a huge eye opener.
You’re both trained in different areas, has this enabled you to be able to bring two different visions to the table? Does one focus more on print than silhouette?
In the beginning it was really quite separate. We would develop a concept together, but when it came to the prints and the garments, we did these for the most part separately. Over time we have learned from each other’s discipline, and so it is very much now a constant collaboration. Of course we constantly argue our differing perspectives but this often forms the best results.
We are so in awe of your A/W collection the strong mix of block primary colours and your patchwork prints really grabbed our attention, along with the use of bespoke tailoring and sportswear fastenings. What was your inspiration for this collection?
This was inspired by a visit to my parents’ home, where my mother brought out some drawings I had done when I was 5 entitled the ‘Coolman Collection’.
I had never seen these before, and we began to think about the naivety of children, and the fun of childhood. This resonates with our original brand ethos, of never taking things too seriously, and became almost a reflection, and a reaction to our career thus far.
When growing a business it is easy to forget this, and we remembered again that we wanted to have fun.
We loved the playful use of Lego eyewear, what is your favourite look from the collection?
Agi: The patchwork crombie style SB Coat and Cropped Patchwork Trousers.
Sam: The Removable tailoring, which you can completely take apart and re-assemble with Velcro.
Your pieces tell a story, they’re bursting with humour but are still very wearable. Do you think it’s important to create a collection that can be taken straight off the catwalk and onto the streets?
In our generation, yes. 10 or 15 years ago, brands would show at fashion week, and it would take 6 months before you even saw it. A year or two after that, it would be re-interpreted by the high street, however now with social media, and the power of the high street, trends can become instant. So it’s always important that you are one step ahead.
What’s more, we always believe our clothes should fit in the middle between ‘fashion statement’ and obvious. We want people to wear our clothes, otherwise they have no resonance.
You won the ‘Emerging Talent Award’ for ‘Menswear’ at the British Fashion Awards and had a catwalk show at LCM AW15, however your prices are definitely at the lower end of the designer market; do you think this is important to keep your brand affordable?
Definitely. We don’t believe in exclusivity, and would love everybody to be able to be a part of the brand, should they choose to be. We love clothes, but realistically aren’t going to spend £1000 on a pair of socks. So it’s important to us for our consumers to relate to our way of thinking.
Who is the Agi & Sam customer, what are they about?
Somebody that appreciates menswear but isn’t afraid to take a risk. They probably have an understanding and appreciation of fashion, but don’t necessarily want to look like a fashion victim,
And thus, they’re quietly confident within themselves. He doesn’t always take himself too seriously, and understands the importance of balancing work and life. He probably likes a good drink too.
What’s next for Agi & Sam?
To continue to refine our aesthetic and vision. Whilst we always continue to have fun with the brand, it is important to do this properly and with business being a key factor; making long-term goals, and ensuring we get the correct people in to help facilitate this. We are also working on a new collaboration set for release early next year, which involves quite a bit of travelling, so we’re rather busy trying to balance all of the above with that.