Just days after performing at Glastonbury, Skepta brought the souks of Marrakech to a London basement for the launch of his clothing line, MAINS. Although it might have been the lower ground floor of Selfridges, it was certainly made to look and feel like Morrocco – with the grime MC’s closest friends, collaborators, and fans in attendance, sipping mint tea and munching on baklava, whilst Syrian wedding singer, Omar Souleymann provided the music for the occasion.
The collection itself was strung out on market stalls and could be seen on a few of Skepta’s closest compatriots, including his brother and fellow musician, Jme. “This is for life,” he told Vogue. “Anybody who pledges allegiance to Mains is going to be a part of this life-long brand. This was something that took a long time in the making: it’s taken two years. From the drawing and creating to the production.”
It was in an early 2016 interview with I-D, when the MC first talked about his plans to launch a clothing line. “I’m gonna bring out my own brand soon. It’s gonna be for the streets, for your everyday person who doesn’t want to wear jeans all the time and wants to be comfortable. You won’t feel inferior in my sportswear!” Staying true to his promise, and demonstrating that his talent reaches beyond music, the Mercury prize-winner delivered with a consistent Morrocan theme.
The gritty lookbook for the collection was shot on the rooftops of Marrakesh by the talented Dexter Navy, with the Middle Eastern inspiration deriving from the feeling the designer wanted to evoke through his clothing. “I wanted to make a tracksuit that you can feel royal in,” Skepta told I-D, “hence the embroidery.” The embroidery he’s referring to – plaited detailing down the seams – makes a feature out of the humble tracksuit, an everyday British staple. “I did so much in a tracksuit and I wanted people to feel just as entitled as anyone else wearing one,” he continued. “It’s the tracksuit of our time, I believe.
MAINS steps away from the usual form of the classic tracksuit by being void of logos, and using a consistent palette of navy, khaki and white – far from the basic black or more vibrant colour-blocking used traditionally. Both aspects were big design factors for the 34-year-old. “I’m tired of logos. The whole thing was about the ability to wear a tracksuit anywhere.” He told Vogue. The simplistic approach to the often over-complicated, over-branded, tracksuit was in effort to ensure the timelessness of his garments. “I want this to be for life and with all that instant hype stuff as soon as something goes up its just as quick to come down.”
The MC also emphasised the importance of a reasonably affordable price-point, with T-shirts starting at £50, while you can pick up the combined tracksuit top and bottoms for £400, exclusively at Selfridges. It is certainly a solid debut offering from Skepta’s MAINS, and it will be interesting to see the direction he takes the brand going forward.
Text by Dan Whitewall
Launch images by Jack O’Brien for Hypebeast
Lookbook images by Dexter Navy