Once the Style Editor at the Evening Standard, Geoff K Cooper now describes himself as both a Cultural Connoisseur and Creative Wizard in the fashion and lifestyle space. But perhaps he should be adding upper crust designer to his repertoire, having debuted his first collection on Friday at LFW, which was both scintillating and brilliantly of-the-moment.
Expectant guests queued outside the intimate and understated event space just off of Regent Street, amid the 9pm buzz of pub soaked London backstreets. The whir of intrigue for the first clothing launch from ‘Sagaboi’, up until now a hip magazine, only grew as time drew on. Eventually we were ushered into an empty cardboard panelled room and pulled into a make-shift runway by the crew. The set—basic and bare, adorned with postal stamped boxes and bubble wrapped furniture—was fun and nonchalant, a well welcomed break from the flash of the other shows that punctuated LFW.
And then came the music. Shoulder to shoulder, attendees bopped to the likes of TLC’s No Scrubs and Shaggy’s It Wasn’t Me, as yet again the agitative wait was drawn out. Intentional or not, the whole evening seemed to be beautifully crafted with periodic waves of anticipation as guests stood nestled together, nervously smiling as we lined the tarp runway; this debut was set to be something special.
At last, perfectly timed just as the wait neared a palpable semi-awkwardness, the first look emerged from behind the graffitied backstage panel. Setting the streetwear tone for the evening, Cooper opened his collection with a denim coloured waistcoat and cargos combo, complete with a peaked matching hat. A menswear satin skirt matched with chunky red, teal, and yellow knitwear followed, all handmade by female crocheters in the Caribbean. Next, more tailored pieces drawing on aesthetics from the Windrush Generation and ‘zoot suits’ also appeared. The models were made up with accents of blue and yellow hued makeup, tying the pieces together in a fun-loving colour scheme. Silver coats, zebra print sequins, knitted hats, and witty slogans also detailed many looks in the collection, making it modern and playful. Cooper himself came to take his bows at the end of the show in the iconic “Black Boi Joy” t-shirt we had seen earlier on the runway.
The cleverness of the collection was in the duality of all the pieces. Bridging both runway and every day, the pieces encapsulated a certain singularity and distinctness, that defined them as “a-la-mode”, and yet still appeared very wearable for your average consumer—something that some bigger brands are losing track of. It is this that perhaps made the collection so obviously loveable.
Entitled ‘Ramajay’, a word loosely referring to musical improvisation, breaking away and reminiscent of steel pans, the collection certainly split from traditional streetwear, and was able to forge an impressively unique aesthetic. Cooper draws on the flamboyance of styling from famous Calypsonians, the colours of his home, and the grunge of street style. Saga boys were members of a Trinidadian subculture who chased a certain stylistic glamour, and these alternative masculine fashions introduced by Cooper are oh so very “saga boy”. The dapper men who paraded the clothes all to easily blended into the groove of the after party, as the space transformed into a fun celebration of creators, supporters, and friends alike.
Hopefully, this upbeat London event, equipped with theatrical bar staff, margaritas on tap, and a myriad of exciting industry insiders is testament to the modern and playful grip Cooper will continue to have on the industry as he begins to stretch into the world of design. We are certainly excited to see SAGABOI expand, and track how a magazine that has already cultivated its own following, aesthetic and opinion can replicate this personality.
By Hebe Street from GLITCH Magazine