SPRING/SUMMER 2024 MEN’S COLLECTION
FRESH OFF THE BOAT
For Sagaboi's SS24 collection, Geoff Cooper draws inspiration from the migration of people, and the imagined and real responses to cultures being introduced to new spaces. Entitled Fresh Off The Boat, the collection anchors to the Caribbean, the epitome of cultural amalgamation, to offer fashion imbued with energy through colour, texture, prints, and manipulations that shout ‘intermix’.
Cooper provides a counterpoint to "Fresh Off The Boat", a sometimes-derogatory term for immigrants who have arrived from a foreign country. Sagaboi’s SS24 collection is a spin on this with arrivals being fresh of the boat… as in freshly styled so those disembarking can walk with confidence and pride, and with their heads held high, so that their entry into new spaces isn't one of fear, but an optimistic offer of value.
Sagaboi is tethered to the steel pan in its branding and steel pan culture with its energy. A steel pan vest made its way down the runway in varied colours (even in a jazzy sequin), and the brand's stand-out steel pan bomber was appropriated for warmer temps with gilets in Sagaboi's signature distressed steel pan quilting and rough island stitchwork. Continuing from last season's play on words, Cooper introduces well-known West Indian colloquial terms and vernacular on slogan teas and re-issued its Big Big Tings tee in softer hues. Knitwear - all handmade by female knitters in the Caribbean – came inspired by materials found in local fishing villages. Cooper offered summer's uniforms with co-ords in denim, linen, raw silk, Sea Island cotton, and suede. The collection's colour palette is decidedly tropical, with vibrant blue, red, and yellow hues intermixed with pastel tones of ecru, lilac, yellow, peach mint, and sand, making for wardrobe staples and stunners.
The 75th Windrush Anniversary
This year marks the iconic 75th anniversary of the arrival of SS Empire Windrush, which brought invited Caribbean immigrants and culture to the UK. The Coopers were one of five families with small children on the ship, and so the designer commemorated this historic happening with riffs on style from the ship and that era. While most images were in black and white, Cooper offered a 2023 update on what Caribbean migrants to the UK in 1948 would have donned.
In the collaboration arena, Sagaboi has teamed up with the Museum of London (which served as the show location) to celebrate its 20th anniversary and Windrush's 75th. The Museum's latest proffer, the first Indo-Caribbean exhibition supported by Cooper (whose ancestors on his mother's side stem from India), is referenced on a slogan tee and pays homage to Indian indentured labourers to the Caribbean, and then to the UK, and their contribution to both spaces which they now call home. Ukrainian accessories brand ÈTAPE partnered with Sagaboi for a selection of beautiful bright bags adorned with Sagaboi's village print, painted by a Ukrainian artist in London. From style to cuisine, so much has been added by the many movers to new places. This, though, has not always been received with appreciation, and so Sagaboi's latest collection offers a modern perspective: that boats that arrive with new entrants to foreign shores can move with a certain panache, poise and pride, and be received as such in kind.
Sagaboi also paid homage to Caribbean Olympians given next year’s 2024 Olympic Games by reenacting the iconic moment from the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia, where Trinidadian Olympian Ato Boldon (who won winning the silver medal in the Men’s 100-metre race), was wearing a pair of Oakley “OVERTHETOP” reflective sunglasses over his head. Cooper, who hails from Trinidad and Tobago, walked the catwalk in the “OVERTHETOP” Oakleys.
Sustainability and climate change being major challenges for the Caribbean was a key focus of Sagaboi, which used remnant fabrics and eco-yarns for 75% of the collection. At the core of this collection is a free-spirited exploration of personality seen through a multicultural lens and played out at the intersection of streetwear, leisurewear, and expressive tailoring.