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Clifford Jago’s #JagoChallenge Neesha Tulsi Champaneria
Clifford Jago’s #JagoChallengeNeesha Tulsi Champaneria (@neeshatulsichampaneria)

Imaginary stylist Clifford Jago has a wild fashion proposition for you

The self-proclaimed ‘messiah of the fashion cupboard’ challenged his industry friends to get creative with their household goods – and now wants you to do the same

Cast your mind back to 2018 and you may recall us introducing you to a rising fashion force majeure by the name of Clifford Jago. At that point, the entirely fictitious creative and self-described “messiah of the fashion cupboard” was making waves around the world with his eccentric, imaginative approach to styling. Transforming discarded trash into bonafide treasure, in Jago’s wholly imaginary hands pop-up tents became DIY couture, McDonald’s paraphernalia was reimagined as sassy accessories, and pink Power Ranger costumes were… well, left as they were – because how do you better that? 

In recent weeks, however, Jago’s imaginary travels have been curtailed by the lockdowns implemented across all four corners of the globe – but that’s not to say he’s not been getting creative while riding out quarantine. Digging out his little black book of fashion friends, the stylist kicked off a new project called the #JagoChallenge, which prompts people to create their own Jago-esque looks from items around the home. 

“Jago can’t leave the house but he can still catch the mouse” – Clifford Jago 

Among those who responded were the likes of artist Max Siedentopf, musician Bootychaaain, and actress and Chanel muse Lily Newmark, who each turned out looks that utilised everything from discarded cardboard boxes and packs of toilet roll, to duvets, balloons, blow-up globes, and Henry the Hoover vacuum cleaners. Basically, whatever they had lying around the house was fair game for reappropriation. “Jago can’t leave the house but he can still catch the mouse was my mentality going into this,” the stylist explains of the project. “I loved seeing what people came up with: it can be quite revealing about their personality and how they think. They’re quite literally wearing their home.”

It’s not only Jago’s industry friends he wants to get involved in the project, though. In fact, he’s calling on anyone who wants to take part to post their home-sourced looks to Instagram and tag the post #JagoChallenge (or send directly here), explaining he has both a book and a fully fledged exhibition in his sights when we finally emerge from the other side of this pandemic. 

Here. we catch up with the imaginary creative to hear more about the project, who’s next on his hit list, and that time he met Isaac Newton in New Delhi.

Tell us a little about what you’ve been up to since we last spoke to you…

Clifford Jago: Since I released my third book, Clifford Jago & The Sunflower Children, I’ve worked in LA, Brazil, and India, where I met some very interesting and inspiring people. One of my favourite moments was when I met a 74-year-old musician called Isaac Newton in New Delhi. I came across Isaac playing live music at a busy Sunday market and invited him to my hotel where I bought his 400 song USB. He then drove me to his house where he was teaching a student. After the lesson I created a look on both of them, inspired by the culture and atmosphere of Delhi. He was a huge character and really made the trip for me. 

Where and how are you spending isolation, and who are you spending it with? 

Clifford Jago: In the 2001 Big Brother house with my two chihuahuas playing the new Final Fantasy remake. 

Who would be your ideal isolation partner? 

Clifford Jago: Probably my boy Tim Peake who is a master of isolation. He’s spent 291 days in space and he knows how to stay sane. We could make him a great astronaut outfit out of an air con unit and a fish bowl. 

Are you feeling creative right now? 

Clifford Jago: I spent the first two weeks just taking everything in to be honest, I wasn’t feeling too creative at all. But people are finding ways to continue to collaborate and connect creatively and that has got me inspired once again. This project has come from that energy.

“A few highlights for me so far are Peter Ash Lee’s vegetable warrior complete with cabbage pants and carrot spear and Labanna Babalon making a swamp queen out of hair wigs and driftwood ” – Clifford Jago 

Tell me a little more about the #JagoChallenge. What was the idea behind it? 

Clifford Jago: ‘Jago can’t leave the house but he can still catch the mouse’ was my mentality going into this. These projects usually rely on travelling and connecting with people, going on adventures which spontaneously evolve my work. The project is a unique blend as it relies on styling a look and then photographing it, there’s no team to hide behind. Inviting people at home to get involved was the next logical step in reaction to the lockdown. Everyone at home has a camera phone and household objects. It’s about working with your limitations and expressing yourself. 

How did you decide who to approach?

Clifford Jago: I approached past collaborators, friends, and personalities who I thought would absolutely smash a look. From Bootychaaaain to Max Siedentopf, having a fusion of different styles makes the project so much more interesting. Talent ranges from artists, photographers, stylists, and creative directors, to musicians, dancers, influencers, and models. I would have loved to create looks on all these wonderful people myself but it has been amazing to see what everyone has come up with individually. 

Do you have a favourite submission? 

Clifford Jago: A few highlights for me so far are Neesha and her homage to the hard-working cleaners of the world. I love the superhero-inspired look which uses cleaning products as an outfit. Labanna Babalon making a swamp queen out of hair wigs and driftwood. Peter Ash Lee’s vegetable warrior complete with cabbage pants and carrot spear, and Ruby Gloom, who created a digital rendering of herself in an isolated landscape dressed in household objects and waste are all great too. 

Who would you most like to see take on the #JagoChallenge? 

Clifford Jago: Tyson Fury. He loved to make a spectacle when he enters a room and I bet he could absolutely smash the Jago challenge. If you’re reading this, I’m challenging you Tyson!

How do you see fashion changing post-pandemic, and how do you, as a fictional stylist, fit into this? 

Clifford Jago: A large part of my work is about travelling and interaction so I can definitely see this having a long-term effect on this even after the pandemic is over. Now is the time to react and create new ways of working, the possibilities are endless really. Send me a collection and I will deliver you a campaign. 

What’s next for you?

Clifford Jago: After such a great response I want to continue the Jago challenge project and open it up to everyone who wants to get involved. By the end of lockdown we are looking at collecting the best ones and making a book and exhibition.

Send your looks to Clifford Jago here