Labrum dedicates this season to the heroes of “St. Giles Blackbirds”. Celebrating a section of the black community comprising of; sailors, soldiers and former slaves that settled in England in the late 1700’s who soon found themselves poor, dispossessed and living within the St Giles-in-the-fields area of London.
Dubbed the ‘black poor’ they were dispassionately transported to Sierra Leone following difficulty finding the solace that London once promised. The group are symbolic of a familiar history and repeated tale: black people who are discarded as soon as they no longer prove useful.
St. Giles Blackbirds, defying the attempts of silence and being cast away, are highlighted here by Labrum. Their story depicted as one of migration and great resilience.
One man who was a pioneer for these people was Olaudah Equiano. Born in Nigeria, Equiano was kidnapped as a teenager and taken to the Caribbean where he was sold to an officer in the Royal Navy. In 1766, he bought his freedom and on his return to London became integral in the fight to abolish slavery.
The AW21 trench coat pays tribute to Equiano’s distinct style, combining ruffled sleeves with an otherwise traditionally British raglan cut. These two elements fuse together with the addition of storm flaps and minimal top stitching. This design is complimented by the Mamie Bakie shirt 3 which introduces flare to the body of the top and large statement sleeves.
Labrum’s tailoring has been adapted with a new, looser fit. Large shoulders are supported by soft shoulder pads and finished with a cinched waist. This fit stands alone as a statement and supports the oversized shirts seen in the wider collection. Voluminous details nod to the agbada outfit which is synonymous to West African attire. Trousers with deep pleats and wide legs balance the ruffles of the shirts and jackets, whilst the belt loops and other details refer back to the technical outerwear essential to the DNA of Labrum.
Ruffles serve as an ode to traditional West African fashion, which frequently incorporate two step flares. These ruffles are also a nudge to menswear in London from the late 1700’s; flamboyant and unapologetic. Flares, intertwined with Labrum’s signature utilitarian aesthetic and modern tailoring offer a bridge for the gap between stereotypical womenswear silhouettes and modern men’s attire.
Labrum’s accessories this season are made from 80% upcycled materials, either offcuts from the Labrum studio and the fabric used to make the AW21 collection, or forgotten fabric rolls found in the storage rooms of cooperating studios. Cross body bags feature woven fabric and leather straps; the large shopper totes have leather accents in the pocket details and handles. The bucket hat continues to be a key Labrum accessory appearing in coordinating fabrics.
Building on their existing All Star relationship, this season Converse is supporting Labrum’s AW21 London Fashion Week show ‘St Giles Blackbirds’ as part of their All Star Projects programme; Converse’s robust community-focused ecosystem of mentorship, commissions and funding in key cities such as London. Seen throughout the show are the iconic Chuck Taylor 70’s, the new ‘dark soba’ colourway is highlighted by Labrum’s AW21 collection.
In continuation of Labrum’s philosophy for minimising production wastage, the AW21 collection has been made in London with 70% of the collection made from deadstock fabric and factory surplus from previous seasons. Labrum believes in making change not only through the choice of textile, but through the intended use of the garments created. Labrum encourages enjoying the longevity of garments; usage of durable textiles, such as the reintroduction of denim, are paramount to that ethical stance.
You can connect to the show via this link - Labrum London AW21