Not content with owning the sound waves, British grime artist and chart golden boy of the moment, Skepta has now launched his very own fashion line – titled Mains – at the end of June at Selfridges as part of the store’s Music Matters campaign this summer. It will be available more widely from early July onwards.
The small capsule collection has been 18 months in the making but it has been something Skepta was determined to perfect before it was ready for launching. Fashion is a logical next step for Joseph Junior “Skepta” Adenuga, whose lyrics in Shutdown talks about attending London Fashion Week in a tracksuit.
As such, the focal point of his collection are two tracksuits – the outfit ubiquitous and iconic of Skepta who said of the garment: “Growing up on the streets, it took me a while to realise that you can do great things in a tracksuit. I’ve won a Mercury award in a tracksuit, I’ve won a Novello award for songwriter of the year in a tracksuit, I’ve played the Brits main stage in a tracksuit. I wanted to make a tracksuit that could be worn anywhere.”
“You can wear the tracksuit we’ve made to dinner, you can wear it for sports, you can wear it to a christening or a bar mitzvah — you can wear it anywhere and you’re not going to look out of place.” he continued.
Alongside the tracksuit, unisex and available in black or khaki, are a host of basics including a few unassuming cotton t-shirts and sports socks. Items have subtle detailing inspired by Skepta’s visits to Morocco and his African heritage. The collection is also largely logo-free in design.
For a man who infamously sang about binning luxury labels on his 2016 hit That’s Not Me track, price-point wise, Skepta is keen to keep things real. “Something that’s expensive to one person may not be to another, and that was something I was mindful of. But I think I’m exactly the right price for what I represent.” said the grime artist.
“I metaphorically threw all my Louis Vuitton in Gucci in the bin because everywhere I went, people would be wearing £400 belt buckles and complaining that their lives were hard and they never had money,” he says. “It was really getting to me because I would go and make music — make things happen — and all they would say is ‘yeah, but you’re Skepta, it’s easy for you’. But I wasn’t born like this, this is something that I’ve built up. I think people have got lost with looking good on the outside, no matter how empty or broke it makes them feel on the inside. For me, as a black boy from Tottenham, I needed to say ‘yo, you guys are hustling backwards’. What you’re doing makes no sense. Let me show you how to do it: let me go into Sports Direct, pick up a tracksuit and then jump on a stage and pick up a Mercury.”
There is much more to come from Mains, with the music artist now designer, as Skepta goes now to tell DiscerningGent.com that jackets, caps and bags are in the pipeline. It’ll be a interesting area to watch as the trend for leisurewear continues to drive demand. From someone like Skepta, who is in the unique position to capture the zeitgeist of culture across music and fashion, developments should be exciting.