As a continuation of the SS17 collection, 'Down And Out In London and Lagos,' I decided to manifest a fashion editorial with a similar vibe. Yemzi is all about the fusion of West African and European cultures but here the focus is on the down and out millennial girl in London.
What is Down and Out? If you have been following the interviews and press release for the latest collection you'll know that I am referencing George Orwell's most famous book. There is a huge contrast between the dirty kitchens and the upper-class Parisian customers waiting to be served, the same way fashion has a stunning facade which often hides some dark truths. Sweat shops, pollution, anorexia? For me as a designer it was the struggle of balancing commitments (rent, Masters degree, social life) whilst trying to build the Yemzi world. I want to present desired final pieces of clothing and fashion images to match (much like Orwell's protagonist with food) but to achieve this single-handily one must face many challenges.
As I look through Simbasphere's images to select the ones which make the photoset I think about the story and the struggle of these young characters. She's a teen in Dalston, which has had huge renovation the past year but her backdrop is gritty. Is she making money on the streets? There's one image which i chose for the BRIGHT tradeshow poster where Kaede has her jacket held open with a serious face as if she means business. The shoot almost included a baby. Would it appear to one of the models and express another kind of struggle?
I've been playing with the idea, and created some mock-up's of a 'Down and Out' graphic to adorn a range a clothing. This visual has to be emotionally ambitious. Down and out in the slums and or down and out on a high. Having the artwork open to the interpretation of wearers and viewers is important to me as both are real and I don't want my work to focus on the negative and I am too much of a realist for it to be purely positive.
Maybe this graphic will see light of day with my next drop. For now please enjoy the latest photoset with thanks to the team, credited at the end, who made this happen on location despite the winter weathers frosty grip.