From the selection of sample pieces that we showcased, Sauvage’s commitment to cut and print prevails. Channelling his tailoring training into off-the-peg items ensures an exemplary fit, while his eye for a print feeds into the growing demand for brighter colours and bolder lines, which is undeniably on the rise in menswear.
Yet, being a designer of substance as well as style, Sauvage’s prints have heritage. His “Asafo” print jacket-and-trouser set, for example, is derived from traditional warrior groups that once thrived on the Gold Coast of Africa (present day Ghana), and formed to defend local communities.
Adopting and adapting the military paraphernalia of European settlers, these Asafo groups created their own unique flags and emblems to express their identity, both to foster community ties and intimidate their enemies.
While the military aspect of Asafo groups ended with the British colonial takeover, they remained central to community life, and a visual language developed around their flags and artwork.
Here are a selection of Asafo flags, courtesy of the internet.
It is a style that is still alive within contemporary art, for example in the tapestry work of Grayson Perry, and although cultural appropriation can be problematic – terms like "Navajo" and "tribal" are often thrown around without much thought or consideration, just ask Victoria's Secret – Sauvage is clearly engaging with a culture and personal West African heritage that he finds fascinating. His Asafo print absorbs elements of this fine tradition, updating it while also making it his own.
shop A. Sauvage