The phrase, “two heads are better than one” usually rings true in most scenarios. I mean, look at Batman and Robin, Laurel and Hardy, Dolce and Gabbanna; these are all successful dynamic duos. Within the world of fashion it can be quite difficult to establish a successful relationship in which both parties are satisfied and singing from the same hymn sheet, it is often a case of too many cooks in the kitchen. I tried to avoid the obvious pun. Meet Agape Mdumulla and Sam Cotton, the tongue in cheek sartorialists behind the label, Agi & Sam: infusing bespoke humour back into menswear.
Agi was raised in Yorkshire, but went on to study Fashion Design at Manchester School of Art. Upon completing his degree in 2008, Agi relocated to London and trained in garment construction at a Soho based tailors, before spending a year at Alexander McQueen . As fate would have it, a young Stratford-Upon-Avon-bred and 2008 University of Lincoln Illustration graduate, Sam Cotton was also interning at the House of McQueen whilst creating prints for the likes of Armand Basi, Blaak Homme and Carolyn Massey. The young creatives were inadvertently cast together and soon realised they both had an intention to bring back the fun to bespoke men’s tailoring, a fearless approach to designing. After two seasons, Sam left McQueen and started up his own womenswear collection, VOL. I. Agi also followed suit and worked freelance for designers including Gemma Slack, J.W. Anderson and Matthew Miller. Both left McQueen having ascertained invaluable experience, but none more invaluable than learning the importance of thorough research, and the amplitude at which creativity can be scrutinised.
Agi & Sam found themselves in a bit of a predicament whilst applying for jobs, they couldn’t go for junior level positions because they had far too much experience, but weren’t experienced enough to apply for middleweight to senior designer positions. They certainly were in a bit of a pickle. In a situation like this, two heads were certainly better than one. Agi&Sam was concieved to fill the void between designers that dread to tread outside of their creative comfort zone and those whom are uber avant-garde and know not when to draw the line. Ultimately, fashion is a form of expression but Agi & Sam felt a need to infuse elements of their personalities into their clothes; re-introduce a playfulness and humour.
Their Autumn/Winter 2011 collection (images below) is entitled, “Most Young Kings Get Their Heads Cut Off”, and as always has it’s focal point centred around print. It is near on impossible to ignore obvious influences and references drawn from The Fresh Prince of Bel Air but dig a little deeper and elements of Jean Michel Basquiat, 90s afrocentric bohemia and artisan chic are present. His drawings appear on trousers, leggings and Jackets as a small retrospective of his work . The collection certainly embodies the flair, pomp and charming garish nostalgia of the nineties and Will Smith’s character in the sitcom. The young designers work on instinct, they are taste arbiters blessed with the ability to create items that are loud, yet interesting and bursting at the seams with colour and a blase eccentricity that is charming enough to make the pieces wearable. Agi&Sam cite Ace Ventura : Pet Detective as their ideal customer and Wes Anderson as their alpha omega. What’s next for the dynamic duo? After showing at London Fashion Week as part of Fashion East, they are exhibiting at the London Show Rooms in Paris and a footwear collaboration for their Spring/Summer 2012 collection. Agi&Sam are certainly no joke and their meteroic success is nothing to be laughed at; watch this space. Agi&Sam is stocked at Trickle , 6000AD and Sefton.
Images via agi&sam and fashion scout