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POETRY IN MOTION:
LABRUM AW22

The new collection from West-African inspired brand LABRUM, an ode to movement, is as dynamic as its theme.

We’ve not moved much over the last couple of years, have we? Lockdown days spent, ironically, in activewear – often threatened single-figure step counts and housebound heatmaps the size of a bathroom tile. Now, though, the world’s back spinning, and we’re out and about again with the kind of reckless abandon we once dreamt of. Fashion’s been equally dynamic, with the return of the runway seeing big, bold, silhouettes (broad shoulders!), mood-boosting hues (Jacquemus suits!) and theatrical spectacles (horses on the runway! Gimp suits!)

Equally on the move is the latest collection from LABRUM, the London-based, West-African inspired menswear label, operating under the defiant tagline ‘Designed By An Immigrant’. Led by designer Foday Dumbuya, it’s been reeling-in followers recently for its sharp, sartorial designs and bold prints, creating loud-as-you-like looks for big bashes. The brand’s latest collection is titled ‘Poetics of Movement’, a homage to the human instinct for movement and our natural desire to relocate, resettle and restart. It sees migration not, as GB News right-wing demons have it, as something negative, but something beautiful, joyous, necessary. Too right!

Debuted on the runway at LFW, LABRUM’s show brought the collection to life, animating its elongated cuts and lush, meticulously-sourced fabrics. Suiting plays a key role throughout the ensemble, elevated with graphic appliques and asymmetric prints matching the floral bows atop models’ boots. They’re cloaked by long, luxe wool overcoats, detailed with contrasting panels and oversized lapels; or, elsewhere, a padded coat finished in glossy vinyl, refracting the lighting in front-row eyes. There’s also a denim co-ord, dyed in indigo and splattered with patches of electric orange and blue.

Dumbuya’s returned to his roots for this one, working with artisans from Sierra Leone to craft Aishatu dresses embroidered with Nomoli figures, traditional carved statuettes made by the Mende and Kissi tribes and kept for good fortune. The hues used, meanwhile, are a mix of chic neutrals and highlighter-pen bolds, from caustic oranges to greenish turquoises that almost pop out into the third dimension.

There’s also a collaboration with luxury leather brand Nosakhari, collaborating on three new bags – a tote, crossbody and folio – using leather off-cuts printed in camo or patchworked in a myriad of colourways. The crossbody bags are some of the highlights of the entire collection, suave with rich browns, greens and off-whites, and finished with minimalist brass hardware.

The beauty of Fashion Week’s return has been the revival of the runway; while digital presentations and the like can capture the mood of some collections, others, like ‘Poetics of Motion’, rely on movement for total, pure, unfiltered expression. While front rows usually stay pretty still, the show saw them rise up for a standing ovation, a testament to the aura of movement – and the ability fashion has to move us all.

Follow LABRUM LONDON on Instagram here.

Words by Kyle MacNeill / photography by Joe Porritt

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