Designer, stylist, photographer and film maker, Adrien Sauvage is a man gifted with a defined and direct way of seeing. Using a range of mediums, Sauvage looks to create a label that encompasses a full lifestyle, with his A. Sauvage. The latest Black Volta collection continues the range of clothing designed to fit the wardrobe, from morning to evening, of a modern gentlemen aware of his heritage. Each collection is approached from the start with a whole vision, from the clothes themselves through to the look book. Sauvage's models are all real people used for their personality and their background.
Alongside the collections, Sauvage has also made a film depicting the ethos behind his line. This is Not a Suit has been receiving strong attention and has shown at a number of film festivals including Sundance. The success of that film has also led the polymath designer to be asked to create a new short, Le Costumier, which he is currently working on.
Dazed Digital: You were working as a personal stylist before you started the label. How did the line evolve?
Adrien Sauvage: I was working with a lot of female clients and we realised we needed to dress their male partners as well. I wanted to give them a classic and sharp line of just 11 pieces, that went from casual through to modern evening wear, all the elements of a mans wardrobe. I wanted to go away from the traditional fashion seasons, so I developed a silhouette that I could alter over time.
DD: For both of the collections, Captains and Natives and the most recent, Black Volta, you shot the look books yourself. How did that come about?
Adrien Sauvage: As my silhouette was a similar one across the 11 pieces, I didn't need to use a model, so I decided to start shooting on real people. The first collection was shot on 'Captains of industry', people known in their field, alongside generally unknown characters who were prominent in their community, 'Natives'. Black Volta was shot with my family and people I met, on my recent visit to Ghana, the first time I been there for 11 years.
DD: What led you back there?
Adrien Sauvage: My family are originally from there and I have been meaning to go back over for many years, but I have just been so busy. Most of my family who were in the UK recently moved back, so I felt like I had no excuse.
DD: The current Black Volta collection was inspired in part by Ghana. What was it about it that interested you?
Adrien Sauvage: I just felt that I wanted my collection's DNA to have an honest heritage. I was brought up in the UK but I am African, I wanted to create a combination of the two. I have also always loved the way people over there combine the latest versions of something with amazing vintage pieces. I was inspired by photos of my Dad when he was growing up.
DD: You worked some African textiles and cloths as detailing through the collection as well. Fabrics which, traditionally, the colours and patterns of hold meaning.
Adrien Sauvage: Yes we worked a lot with Kente, derived from the Akan tribe. It is an African interwoven silk fabric, all of the colours and patterns signify different meanings, blue for peacefulness, gold for glory and white for purification, for example. I made up a double breasted tuxedo jacket in one version and a lot of the ties are made in Kente. I also used a digital looking dog tooth check in red, which was my interpretation of a seer sucker, but using African textiles.
DD: What is the overall ethos behind the label?
Adrien Sauvage: It's the idea of 'This is not a Suit'. It is a lifestyle, I make clothes clothes for people who don't necessarily wear suits. By shooting the collection not on models, by creating the short films and the photographic series', its aimed at getting a younger guy and a new community of clients interested in that traditional process.