a chat with agi & sam

Electric sekki presents
London Show Rooms in Hong Kong

Electric sekki: So which one's the print guy and which one's the tailoring/garment construction guy?
Sam (Agi & Sam): I'm the print guy.
Agi (Agi & Sam): And I'm more the design construction.
Sam (Agi & Sam): After we come up with our idea for the collection, we sit down together, research together, draw and design the collection together, so it's a constant collaboration, but when we actuate the designs, that's when we go our separate ways.  So Agi will work with the pattern-makers and factories, and I'll work with the print factories.
Agi (Agi & Sam): We're both looking at both sides; I'm looking at prints and things around that in the same way that Sam is looking at garments that he might be interested in doing with the prints.  We can then work and build on that.  
Sam (Agi & Sam): When we set a brief, we wanted to do digital prints and when we started doing it no one was really doing it yet, so it became our thing.  But now we're trying to use the digital print in a way that doesn't look like digital print.  For example, with the tapestry weave, the needlepoint embroidery, that's actually a print made from loads of different photographs that we stitched together to make it look like one piece; make the shirt look like it's been embroidered.

Electric sekki: Do you ever look at a print that Sam does and say, "No, I don't like that."
Sam (Agi & Sam): Yes, all the time!  All the time!
Agi (Agi & Sam): You have to, though!  You can't take anything too personally.
Sam (Agi & Sam): I mean, we'll argue a point if we feel strongly about it.  But, same with me.  Agi might do something and I'll be like, "Gross!"
Agi (Agi & Sam): If I ever wear this stuff, there are certain things that I would feel more comfortable wearing.  For example, certain trousers.  I wore a pair from this collection once and I felt a bit self-conscious in them.  For one of our previous collections we had these tartans that were blown up, and I felt that was fine because it's an accepted print, you know what it is, you can identify with it, so you don't feel too weird wearing it.
Sam (Agi & Sam): We're learning as we do, as well, because we had no idea what we were doing when we started. We're learning how to use colour, how to use print and scale.  We're learning that with some prints it's better to do it smaller and others larger.  And with the colours, we're learning that it's more about the more "natural" colours that you're used to.  It's easier for people to look at.

Electric sekki: So tell us a little bit about the inspiration behind this collection.
Agi  (Agi & Sam):  It was kind of 80's inspired.
Sam  (Agi & Sam): It's Tom Sellac!
Agi  (Agi & Sam): Yeah, Tom Sellac.
Electric sekki: Tom Sellac with the giant mustache?
Sam  (Agi & Sam): Yeah!  That's why if you look at the styling in the show all the models have mustaches.  And we casted a range of models of all different ages.  We did this collaboration with Tabio, where we created all these different printed socks for them so, in the show, each look had a sock to match it.  We knew we wanted to do a printed sock from the beginning; it's kind of a "granddad faux-pas" thing we wanted to do, so we approached them and that was it.  Hopefully we can do more with them in the future.

Electric sekki: So I know you're working on a women's line.  When's that going to show?
Agi (Agi & Sam): We're not going to show yet.
Sam (Agi & Sam): Commercially, we want to work out how to get womenswear right first before we do a show.
Agi (Agi & Sam): We don't know how to do womenswear at all.  I don't know how to cut a dress!
Sam (Agi & Sam): And we don't want to do this "boy's clothes for women" thing, because that would be too easy.  If we do it, it has to be women's.
Agi (Agi & Sam): We experimented with the shirts, but it's still a boy fit.  We started with jut putting one of our shirts on a girl and it just didn't look right.  It still has to fit.  It can be a bit loose, but it still has to have that aesthetic where it's cut differently.  If we were to do womenswear, it's not going to be frilly dresses; it would be more of a Celine look.  Sleek.
Sam  (Agi & Sam): We were actually contacted before by Urban Outfitters to do a women's line, but we just didn't want to go into an entry point like that without having established ourselves as a womenswear designer, because it would kind of set our customers' expectations quite low.  ASOS approached us, as well.  The only people that can really do a diffusion line are ones that are already established in the market.
Agi  (Agi & Sam): We knew we definitely wanted to do womenswear at some point, and we just thought it might be a bit confusing if we were known for womenswear on that level, because when we released our mainline it would confuse our customers.

Electric sekki: But you've currently got a capsule collection of womenswear stocked in Harvey Nichols.  How did you pull that off, then?
Agi (Agi & Sam): I know!  From the skills I've learnt in menswear, how to produce clothes...
Sam (Agi & Sam): To be honest, it wasn't that difficult.  It's just silk shirts.  We just had to make sure that everything fit nicely and that the finishes were good.
Agi (Agi & Sam): I tried it on loads of different people: my girlfriend, my friends, my mum, all these people!  I asked them how it felt, if the pockets were in the right place.  I just tested it.  We weren't really breaking any boundaries; it was just nicely cut shirts.  You know, they contacted us!  We didn't want to let them down.  It's different when you make a collection and buyers buy it.  This was different.  They approached us to create this collection that was a special thing we had never done before.  We really didn't expect to do womenswear this quickly.


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