Bianca Saunders is a name that's been on everyone's lips since she was announced the winner of the ANDAM prize 2021, with fashion's most dedicated followers wondering where Saunders was going to turn her head (or her talents) to next. The wait is finally over as it's recently been announced that the talented London-born designer is collaborating with menswear brand Farah to launch a collection that's been 'thoughtfully designed with Caribbean heritage in mind'.
Launching next year, Uptown Top Ranking will also borrow from Farah's extensive archive, reinterpreting it into modern, contemporary design while also keeping in line with the brand's distinct style. (Yes, that does most likely mean an updated version of the historical Farapress trousers are on their way); an item of clothing that holds significance for Saunders and her designs within the collaboration. Providing an initial source of research for the partnership, both Saunders and Farah also looked to male subcultures of the 1970s, subsequently finding inspiration in vintage photographs of Saunders' uncles throughout the process.
Bianca Saunders said in a statement:
'Collaborating with Farah has allowed me to continue to explore what I love - the nuances of masculinity together with the influences of my Caribbean heritage. Going deep into the Farah archives and finding ways to push forward the signature cuts and silhouettes of the brand with my own transformative techniques has been a real honour.'
From album covers to family photos, the final collection is a homage to the confident men that have always featured in Saunders' life, with design choices that purposefully pay attention to their neatly pressed, ironed-out creased trousers, worn by men who prided themselves on projecting polished dressing. The collection's title also borrows inspiration from the Althea and Donna 1978 track, Uptown Top Ranking, which describes how a Jamaican man would dress himself up as he heads out to wander through the city's bright lights. Speaking of the opportunity to collaborate with the London-based menswear designer of the moment, global head of design at Farah, Chris O'Brien, said in a statement:
'We are really excited to collaborate with Bianca. Her exploration of male identity through style and subculture is what the Farah brand stands for. Celebrating her Caribbean heritage, the music of a decade that inspired so many movements with modern adaptations that still hold true to both brands, is the makings of a wonderful collaboration.'