Inspired by the Nomoli figurines; the lasting remnants of a bygone Sierra Leonean and Liberian empire, LABRUM’s SS24 collection examines the strength of cultural identity, the depths of human connection and the threads of migration that weave us together. The result is an emotional, resilient and culturally rich story that pays homage to the past, embraces the present and encourages a connected future.
Masquerades and folktales were an initial starting point. Valuable stories were told and lessons were learned through these widely revered celebrations across West Africa. The showpieces pay direct homage to this with masks appearing throughout in printed textiles. Raffia and similar frayed fabrics nod to the materials used in the traditional masquerade attire. Blazers feature mask prints, symbolising the courageous faces of individuals who have found a new home, solace and inspiration here in London — a modern hub of culture and vibrant stories.
In every stitch, there lies a profound story of movement and migration. Inspired by Mende and Temne tribal masks, each garment in this collection becomes a wearable canvas — a testament to the courage and resilience of those who have undertaken transformative journeys across borders and continents. On the site of what was formerly the headquarters of the Port of London Authority; The Four Seasons Hotel, 10 Trinity Square is a Grade II listed building that speaks to the journeys that have inspired this collection as historically migrants had to pass through this building when looking to work in London.
Silhouettes are drawn from the 70s migration, accentuating the shape and exaggerating the volume of the garment so that they flow. Every detail represents the hopes, dreams, and aspirations of those who have sought new horizons, leaving behind imprints of their vibrant cultural heritage. A jacquard technique has been used to give exceptional dimensions to the fabrics, something which is not achievable with traditional printing. The yarns have been cut to reinforce this as they enable a transparency and almost sheerness to emphasise the pattern. This is a mechanical method where the machine cuts the floating yarns before sucking them in and shaving them to the desired length.
As you wear these garments, you embody the journeys, aspirations, and spirit of those who have migrated and left an indelible mark on the fabric of society.
“The storytelling of this adventure is on textiles through daring colours and patterns. As well as techniques such as screen printing, quilting, weave and knitwear all used to highlight this odyssey further,” says Foday.
Every piece in “Nomoli Odyssey: A Migration of Style and Identity” is an ode to the human spirit, boldly declaring that style knows no boundaries. It’s informed by the pathfinders and adventurers who defied limitations, celebrating their heritage while creating a new narrative interlaced with cosmopolitan flair. Nomoli Odyssey celebrates the universal longing for connection, the power of human expression, and the unbreakable bonds that unite us all.