For SS20 Foday Dumbuya gives us a lesson in Sierra Leonean history

For SS20, Labrum London delved into Sierra Leone’s history books to reveal the story of The Black Prince Naimbana. Son of the last Temne ruler of Koya, he studied in England in the 1790s where he influenced abolitionist thinkers. With the prince’s famed utterance, “The dehumanisation of others is the foundation of all bigotry” printed on the wall of the venue, this was a show entirely in his honour.


For the set, designer Foday Dumbuya and creative director Julian Knoxx collaborated with furniture designer Yinka Illori to created a colourful throne for the prince, and stands for his guards. For the collection’s prints, illustration lab Kazvare Made It imagined what the prince’s coins and stamps would have looked like, had he become king, depicted scenes from his life and created a leaf motif taken from Sierra Leone’s Tragacanth tree. And continuing in that spirit of collaborative storytelling, experimental musician Obongjayar was on hand to serenade Labrum’s rapt LFWM audience.

With his aim of building a heritage brand that fuses British and West African influences, Dumbuya’s designs draw on traditional tailoring and beautifully crafted cloth. Taking its cues from 18th century silhouettes, British culottes and coats sat alongside shirts and jackets reflecting West African formalwear, while the designer made use of pleating and high collars to reference the gentlemanly garb of chiefs. Detail driven to the end, Labrum’s trademark approach was found in buttons made from ceramic and coconut shell and trouser adjustors inspired by French fencing uniforms. Certainly clothes fit for a king.


Read our interview with Foday Dumbuya and the 419 collective in issue two of Nataal magazine, available now.

Visit Labrum London

Published on 15/06/2019