Wednesday, 03 November 2021

SUIBOTSU – Sydney Davies Launches Her Debut Menswear Collection

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Leila Kaess

London Fashion Week is over, but innovative fashion never halts. Right on time for Black History Month, Sydney-Davies enthusiastically showcases a stunning menswear collection.

Designer and Alexander McQueen trainee Euphemia Sydney-Davies founded the brand in 2015 and shifted her focus exclusively on menswear after developing a new vision during her self-induced sabbatical in 2019, now following her main passion. In total she has worked three collections up until this point, those being featured on prestigious players in the industry with the likes of Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and the BBC.

Titled SUIBOTSU, which translates to submergence, this bold debut collection is inspired by Japanese culture and style, thereby focusing on three shirt silhouettes (classic, oversized, Kimono) in different executions. Euphemia champions traditional craftsmanship, diligent precision, and dedication to her unique sustainability ethos. Suppliers and manufacturers are UK based, while the clothes will be produced in Africa, thereby creating opportunities in her native country of Sierra Leone, where she had to flee as a child refugee of the civil war. In such a way she successfully merges both parts of her own identity and history.


All prints are carefully hand drawn, influenced by ancient Japanese woodblock style drawings, and combined in juxtaposition with modern intrepid text print. The phrase “No man steps in the same river twice. For it is not the same river, and he is not the same man” is incorporated in various oversized pieces of the collection, alluding to a statement from Greek philosopher Heraclitus. What shall we take from this? It is a frequent reminder to both the wearer and spectator that we are living in a world of perpetual change, we as human beings will never stay the same and likewise everything else surrounding us will ultimately change, this becomes especially apparent when certain personally significant events are revisited or contemplated in retrospect. The Great Japanese Purple Emperor, a butterfly also known as Saskia Charonda is another source of inspiration regarding prints. It is a symbol for Japanese wildlife and the nation in general. Further, emblematic of the collection’s overarching theme of isolation, solitude, and transformation, as the butterfly’s development within its cocoon encompasses all these key elements.

Colours are coherently kept in muted tones of blues and greens, reminiscent of nature and its inherent sides like forests, seas and far stretched oceans. This bestows the clothes a deeply holistic and grounded feeling, concurrently also mirroring the efforts undertaken to ensure a sustainable production.

How SUIBOTSU was showcased reflected the brand’s core values perfectly. The Africa Centre in London Southwark formed the basis for a melting pot of different cultures and aesthetics, especially during Black History Month. Coming in one by one, the models placed themselves on black pedestals, arranged in perfect symmetry. The astonished audience was then allowed to mingle and inspect every single piece up close. At this juncture the high quality of fabric, print and above all the extreme precision and alignment of those became obvious. This talent is a token Euphemia first aquired during her time at Alexander McQueen, from thereon after internalized and transferred onto her own work ever since. At first glance you might only observe a front button stand, but on the back is another hidden button stand, so you can actually unbutton the shirts front and back, take the left and right halves and put them back together. Her vision after all is development and investing in representation, fashion is her vehicle to do just that. Innovative Ethical Fashion, a truly more than fitting motto for this upcoming brand, which is here to stay. We highly recommend keeping a close eye on this one before it eventually blows up big time! It launches this month on the 5th of November. Independent retailer Wolf and Badger will stock it both in their London and New York stores as well as online. Sydney Davies created offbeat ways, offering menswear something new and progressive.