The name of IAMISIGO’s SS22 collection is so simple that at a glance you might miss its super power: “Green Water, Blue Forest”. Water is generally blue, forests are green.
By swapping these colours around, the brand startles us. It reminds the reader how much human activity has altered the Earth. So much in fact that the period in which we now live is known as the Anthropocene age. The World Economic Forum reports that, “The Anthropocene is a new, present day epoch, in which scientists say we have significantly altered the Earth through human activity. These changes include global warming, habitat loss, changes in the chemical composition of the atmosphere, oceans and soil, and animal extinctions.”
Last month, creative director and designer Bubu Ogisi (who is based between Lagos, Accra and Nairobi) launched the collection at Independence House, in Lagos, Nigeria. The building was commissioned over 60 years ago by the British as a good will to Nigeria’s Independence. The choice of venue was intentionally chosen and adds to Bubu’s larger project of decolonising the mind. The designer who is concerned with history and with the environment, writes in her press release that “Green Water, Blue Forest” was made for “the future, a future of the past, where the freethinking continent of Africa, a truly decolonised world, embraces and finds the balance between the natural and synthetic worlds”. Or, if you like, how can we ensure that we, the manufacturers of synthetics, co-exist respectfully with nature.
For this collection, the brand brings together the natural and the industrialised worlds, one in which the man-made material plastic pervades all aspects of society. Science Museum aptly describes how much it has done so: “We sleep on plastic-filled pillows, clean our teeth with plastic toothbrushes, type on plastic keyboards, drink and eat food from plastic containers—it’s impossible to go through a day without encountering plastic of some kind.”
To represent nature, IAMISIGO uses the natural fibre, hemp (in collaboration with @agraloop). Hemp is a botanical class of Cannabis sativa, a fast-growing regenerative plant, which according to Fibre2Fashion is thought to be the oldest cultivated plant in the world and can be dated back to the stone age. On the other hand, modern plastic came into being in 1907 with the invention of Bakelite the first synthetic plastic derived from fossil fuels. Ever since, IAMISIGO’s press release states that plastic, “has been the rebellious never ending, ever present fibre that hunts our existence through its vast range of adaptability, flexibility and durability”.
The SS22 collection is made up garments made of looped handwoven hemp provided by @agraloop, woven by artisans in Kenya. According to the brand’s Instagram account, “each metre of fabric requires nine to 10 days to be completed as the loop technique requires a lot of meditational patience”. The hemp fabric is interwoven with cotton and silk, and complemented by hand crotched and patchwork recycled plastic creating a juxtaposed world of reasoning.
Using the body as a canvas, IAMISIGO’s aesthetically and philosophically bold collection, “Green Water, Blue Forest” imagines that the only way to save ourselves and our world is through synchronising both worlds. “In this age, forests can be blue and all waters green”
I am everywhere and nowhere, I am everything and nothing, I am disposable but never disposed of, I am always and will continue to be Omni present.
I am an illusion, I am an idea, I am your essence.
I am provides, protects and prevails.
I am a problem, a solution, the origin, the source.
Who and what am I?
Am I too much, am I too little, am I enough,
What we do know is, I am present.
I am from decay of old and have nowhere to go,
I am from ages of old and I still grow,
I am always and will forever be present.
I am here, there and nowhere.
Creative Direction: Bubu Ogisi
Photography/Cinematography: Nuits Balneaires
Edit: Femi Johnson
Voice: Tobi Onabolu
Model: Roland Traore