Agape Mdumulla and Sam Cotton’s playful menswear label Agi & Sam is as rich in story as it is in design. A standout at Vauxhall Fashion Scout before later being added to Fashion East’s on-schedule collective, the label has a print-heavy, cult-drawing style that derives from Mdumulla and Cotton’s infectious sense of adventure and amusement.
Originally from Tanzania, Mdumulla studied fashion design and presented initial collections in London and Iceland, before meeting Cotton, an illustrator, during an internship at Alexander McQueen. With a humorous and organic approach to design, the duo’s themes often stem from personal and entertaining experiences. Last season’s collection, for instance, was the result of watching continuous episodes of The Fresh Prince of Bel AirM which sparked an exploration of 90’s culture. And s/s ’12’s cultural journey through Latin American and Mexico actually began with one shot too many of Tabasco, tequila and tomato juice.
For this most recent project, Mdumulla and Cotton looked into the myriad textiles and vibrant hues seen in Mexican crafts to use as a starting point for their prints. They remade the classic shirt in a series of combinations (block colors and pixelated Mexican blankets), while traditional weaves were broken down into blue, orange and white check prints on coats, trousers, and accessories. Owing an extra nod to famed Mexican architect Luis Barragan and his unabashed use of color, the s/s ’12 collection is also rich with contrasting stitches (violets threaded through gray and soft blue, navy through pink and orange).
Beyond this exuberant use of color, the relaxed cuts behind Agi & Sam’s s/s ’12 collection delve deep into the social struggles in Mexico’s history—from laborers to farmers to drug lords to gangsters. Cropped printed shorts with layered long sleeve shirts are topped with straw hats by milliner J Smith Esquire, a look suited for working in the hot tropical sun. Smart blazers with matching pleated trousers, similar to those seen on the wealthy and infamous, are dyed in various colors, almost with a watercolor effect. The collection also boasts a second collaboration, printed fair trade slip-ons by Osborn shoes with looks that are available in unisex sizes, suitable for men or women.