Though many designers who are equipped to show elsewhere have quit the London scene this season, others are stepping into the limelight to defend the city's creative reputation. One such is Blaak, the collection by Sachiko Okada and Aaron Sharif, who showed on the official British Fashion Council runway for the first time.
The theme was African Zulu, starting with strong pieces in ebony leather, decorated with tribal scarification patterns and festooned with belts and jewelry in wood, leather and cowrie shells by Edward Griffiths. Black jersey T-shirts with cutouts and knotted details looked great with soft skirts, but the confidence of Blaak's touch really emerged as the pair added asymmetric skirts with black and white prints, and a crumpled cotton collarless shirt.
"It was our interpretation of African," said Okada, "but instead of direct, indirect. It should be something you could wear in London or New York. We wanted it to be super-tribal, super-happy, so you feel the heat." That's an act of solidarity, not insensitivity, she added. "This is a sad time. But if the fashion industry stops, the terrorists, who want everyone to be sad, will have won."
Working steadily to produce off-schedule shows since they sold their first tiny collection to the Browns Focus store while still students, the designers have now won significant sponsorship (from Vidal Sassoon, Swarovski and Sony), giving them the wherewithal to stand on an international platform.