Wednesday, 14 June 2023

Sagaboi Presents ‘Fresh Off The Boat’ At London Fashion Week

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Abdel Abdulai

Geoff K. Cooper, Sagaboi's founder and director, presents his newest collection as a personal depiction of "fresh off the boat". This construction used to label newly-arrived immigrants is here a celebration of culture.

At London Fashion Week, Sagaboi brings the "fresh off the boat" on the catwalk, inspired by the fresh flow brought by immigrants in the UK.

About ‘Fresh Off The Boat’: The Concept

For Sagaboi's S/S24 collection, founder Geoff Cooper draws inspiration from the migration of people, and the imagined and real responses to cultures being introduced to new spaces. Entitled ‘Fresh Off The Boat‘, the collection anchors to the Caribbean, the epitome of cultural amalgamation, to offer fashion imbued with energy through colour, texture, prints, and manipulations that shout "intermix".

‘Fresh Off The Boat’ is Cooper's counterpoint to a sometimes-derogatory term for immigrants who have arrived from a foreign country. Sagaboi’s latest collection is a spin on this with arrivals being fresh off the boat… as in freshly styled so those disembarking can walk with confidence and pride, and with their heads held high, so that their entry into new spaces isn't one of fear, but an optimistic offer of value. At the core of this collection is a free-spirited exploration of personality seen through a multicultural lens and played out at the intersection of streetwear, leisurewear, and expressive tailoring.

About Sagaboi's Sartorial Style

Sagaboi is tethered to the steel pan in its branding, and steel pan culture with its energy. A steel pan vest made its way down the runway in varied colours (even in a jazzy sequin), and the brand's stand-out steel pan bomber was appropriated for warmer temps with gilets in Sagaboi's signature distressed steel pan quilting and rough island stitchwork.

Continuing from last season's play on words, Cooper introduces well-known West Indian colloquial terms and vernacular on slogan teas and re-issued its Big Big Tings tee in softer hues.

A core focus of the brand remains Cooper's attention to sustainability and climate change, two major challenges for the Caribbean, resulting in the use of remnant fabrics and eco-yarns for 75% of the collection.

Knitwear – all handmade by female knitters in the Caribbean – is inspired by materials found in local fishing villages. Cooper offered Summer's uniforms with co-ords in denim, linen, raw silk, Sea Island cotton, and suede. The collection's colour palette is decidedly tropical, with vibrant blue, red, and yellow hues intermixed with pastel tones of ecru, lilac, yellow, peach, mint, and sand, making for wardrobe staples and stunners.

‘Fresh Off The Boat’ And The Windrush Anniversary

Sagaboi's launch falls in the year that marks the 75th anniversary of the arrival of HMT Empire Windrush, which brought Caribbean immigrants and their culture to the UK. An event which contributed to reinvigorating and shaping the country we live in. The Coopers were one of five families with small children on the ship, and so the designer commemorated this historic happening with riffs on style from the ship and that era. While most images were in black and white, Cooper offered a 2023 update on what Caribbean migrants to the UK in 1948 would have donned.

Sagaboi For The Museum Of London

Sagaboi has teamed up with the Museum of London, which served as the show location, to celebrate its 20th anniversary and Windrush's 75th. The Museum's latest proffer, the first Indo-Caribbean exhibition supported by Cooper (whose ancestors on his mother's side stem from India), is referenced on a slogan tee and pays homage to Indian indentured labourers to the Caribbean, and then to the UK, and their contribution to both spaces which they now call home.

Ukrainian accessories brand ètape partnered with Sagaboi for a selection of beautiful bright bags adorned with Sagaboi's village print, painted by a Ukrainian artist in London.

From style to cuisine, so much has been added by the many movers to new places. This, though, has not always been received with appreciation, and so Sagaboi's latest collection offers a modern perspective: that boats arriving with new entrants to foreign shores can move with a certain panache, poise and pride, and be received as such in kind.

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