Labrum spring/summer 2019 collection presentation for LFWM
Highlife Revival is a collection by Labrum influenced by the West African music genre. Artists who did not have access to the bourgeois bars and clubs – the highlife – were inspired by the up tempo jazz celebrations they heard inside and used their creative expression to voice political experiences and emotion. Creative director Foday Dumbuya grew up with highlife at home in Sierra Leone.
His parents’ record collection included Super Combo, Ebenezer Calender and SG Rogie, but it was only after meeting South London Ghanaian musician and DJ Peigh and London-born DJ Danny Wood that highlife re-introduced itself and inspired this collection. Highlife influenced politics, music, fashion, photography and film across Ghana, Nigeria and Sierra Leone through labourers and travelling artists. Foday has taken inspiration from the Malian photographer Malik Sidibé as well as similar greats across genre, including Nigerian artists Fela Kuti, Adekunle Gold, Orlando Owoh and Sierra Leone’s SG Rogie.
Labrum, founded in 2014, is named after the latin word meaning “having an edge”, which is the heart of the brand’s mission. Its utilitarian approach fuses British tailoring with a global palette. For this collection, Labrum has collaborated with London designer Kelly Anna, a freelance artist and print designer who is fast making waves in the art world with her bold, graphic and figurative work using minimal detail to focus one’s eye on the bold colourful forms.
Looking at the Ghanaian artists’ dynamism and versatility, Kelly Anna and Labrum took influence from the patterns and geometric shapes, circular forms and intricate patterns. Anna played with these abstract forms, using hand painting and collage to create naturalistic designs and then finally using strong colours and duo-tones to reflect the palette of the highlife revival. Employing the same make-it-yourself subculture synonymous with the music, the 30-piece collection combines sartorial West African tailoring with contemporary silhouettes.
Presenting Highlife Revival live, Labrum recreates the highlife club, reviving the genre with a modern take. The presentation is a live performance modelling the collection where people could immerse themselves in a revolutionary moment of 1920’s West Africa.
Photos: Kimberley Archer