The lights dim in London on the last day of London Fashion Week Men’s as we break the news that Agi and Sam have closed their doors. After nearly a decade, the prodigious menswear brand shuts down production for reasons only few could have predicted given their popularity and immense early success. In an email to buyers of their AW17 collection, the duo cited that unforeseen circumstances pushed them into voluntary creditor liquidation.
Before all of the hype, Agi Mdumulla and Sam Cotton (both now 31) were just two students with drive and massive potential. The two met while working together as interns for Alexander McQueen, under the maestro himself. Agi, who had formerly worked beside Chanel/Fendi icon Karl Lagerfeld joined forces with Sam, skilled in print illustration, to usher their creative offering to the men’s fashion scene with their Spring/Summer 2011 collection. Agi and Sam was the visual definition of what it meant to be a diverse menswear brand in one of the world’s most multicultural cities.
In 2013, Agi and Sam earned themselves The British Fashion Council’s Emerging Menswear Designers Award; just three years into embarking on their venture. In 2015, the UK-based brand received the prestigious International Woolmark Prize representing the British Isles. This win was huge as it not only brought in 24,000 GBP in prize money, but it also made them the poster children of London men’s fashion within a more international sense. GQ, ID, Highsnobiety, the New York Times, Vogue amongst other publications have consistently praised their accomplishments. Time and again the brand repeatedly made headlines for their remarkably visually prints as well as the faces who modeled them on the runway.
Finding inspiration in his Tanzanian roots and cultural diversity of London, Agi pushed for cultural inclusivity at a time when others feared upsetting the status quo. This launched the company into the public eye as one to move the boundaries on what menswear would become. They pushed the envelope with their loose interpretations of masculine expression in fashion and redefined what diversity would mean for other men’s fashion brands around the globe. Beyond this, there appeal to a large audience spawned collaborations with retailers and brands, the biggest being with Topman, and saw them dabble in womenswear with their AW16 collection.
Despite the difficulty of saying goodbye to a brand so loved, there is still reason to celebrate as this does not signal the end of their contributions to menswear. Sources close to the brand have hinted at Sam launching his own label imminently and Agi working on a few interesting design projects. As we look back and pay homage to the brand and the creatives who elevated the game, take a look at our greatest looks from the heavy hitters that we will remember as Agi and Sam.