They say it takes two to make it right, which is certainly the case with Agi & Sam, one of the biggest success stories of the London menswear scene in recent years. The company was founded in 2010 by Agi Mdumulla and Sam Cotton who have since launched a highly praised Topman capsule collection and taken home the Emerging Menswear Talent gong at the most recent British Fashion Awards – all in the space of just three years.
What’s all the more surprising is that their autumn/winter 2014 collection was only their second solo show. And what a show it was… Bringing the house down with a catwalk dominated by monochrome prints, oversized business logos and cropped trousers, plus a live tribal drum band, their appearance was beyond a hit.
In terms of Agi & Sam as a brand, they’re going to continue ruling the roost. With recognition from publications as diverse as GQ, i-D and The Sunday Times, and selling through high-end designer stores such as Harvey Nichols and Liberty, the buzz around Agi & Sam shows no sign of abating. We caught up with perhaps the coolest name in British fashion…
Define the concept behind Agi & Sam as a fashion brand
Sam: Agi & Sam is a contemporary textiles-based menswear brand who believes that fashion should never been taken too seriously. Our designs focus on bespoke prints with a cheeky humour, resulting in collections full of character and originality.
When was Agi & Sam established?
Sam: We started it all in August 2010.
What inspired you to start a career in fashion?
Agi: I've had a love and interest in clothes since I was a teenager, but I guess it was after studying fashion at University, that I knew that this was what I wanted to do.
Sam: It was after graduating when I realised I didn't really want to be an illustrator anymore. I had also just been introduced to the print design team at Topman and realised ‘this is more like it’.
How did you both meet and why did you decide to partner up in business?
Sam: We both met interning at Alexander McQueen in 2008. After spending about nearly two years interning through the start of the credit crunch we decided we may as well try and do something constructive while there were hardly any jobs about.
What were you both doing before Agi & Sam?
Agi: I had just finished my first solo collection, which I went on to show at Iceland Fashion Week shortly after.
Sam: I had just finished working for the Irish designer J.W. Anderson.
Agi & Sam focuses on bespoke print and fashion with humour – why are both important to you?
Sam: Print is a useful way of being able to put a strong personality on a collection, this was something we've always wanted to show in a collection. Humour is another thing we feel really strongly about, we've been in some very ridiculous internships in the past where fashion is literally life and death. We just want to make nice clothes and enjoy it in the process.
London is often heralded as the world’s top destination – what do you both think of London and its fashion?
Sam: London has got to be currently the most exciting destination for art and culture. If you look at how successful the events it has been involved in have become, such as London Fashion Week you can see why there is a buzz about it. I believe that this comes directly from the wealth of culture and diversity we have here, nothing is stagnant or repetitive here, it's constantly changing.
What should we all be wearing this summer?
Sam: Agi & Sam.
What fashion trends can you foresee for 2015?
Sam: Minimalism, layering and sportswear.
Who would you most like to dress?
Sam: David Hockney
Whose style do you admire the most?
Sam: David Hockney
Who are your fashion icons – designers, past music stars…?
Sam: Raf Simons, Comme des Garçons, Dieter Rams, Michael Jackson.
Where are you both based in London?
What inspires you both daily?
Agi: Fried Chicken.
What do you both do to relax?
Agi: Watch awful TV
Sam: Playing football, watching football.
What are your plans this summer?
Agi: To do as little work as possible.
Sam: To have an actual, proper holiday.
Define Agi & Sam in three words...
Sam: Black and White.
Agi & Sam; agiandsam.com