The term recession doesn’t fit well with a brand that sets its sights on ultimate luxury. Cigars, sequins and laser cut leather appear throughout a collection set to ignore any warning from Brussels and prove itself a war ship amongst stormy financial seas.
Shaun Akanbi, Creative Director of the evolving urban brand Billy Boyce and former Law graduate, fuses a combination of sequins, corduroy, animal print faux fur and moulage crepe to steer his ideals of luxury into the eye of the economic storm.
“Fashion doesn’t stop for economics,” Shaun explains. “The recession irons out the winners from the quitters! To keep your heads above water in this climate you have to be very innovative and forward thinking to stay ahead. So therefore this current climate is the best time to show we still exist and what a way to show this by the launch of the brands Autumn Winter 2012 capsule series.”
The brand, admittedly, is attempting to steer into a more stable market. One where your cliental has little care for redundancy or debt as Shaun explains his idea of the typical Billy Boyce woman. “Jessica Langley is a typical Billy Boyce clientele who lives in Kensington and works as an interior designer with a four bedroom detached house.”
Yet the Billy Boyce brand has gained a larger following with a predominately younger audience, one of which may not dwell within the SW7 zip code. Shaun, however, is defiant his new collection will not alienate his long, loving and loyal audience.
Jessica Langley is merely one side of the coin to Shaun. Perhaps a relatively new one in comparison to his original fan base. “She [Jessica Langley] wears the Billy Boyce brand gracefully but so does Michelle Rhodes from South East London who is a part-time waiter and fashion student at Central Saint Martins. My step towards a more luxurious feel was done to gain a wider range of audience not to alienate another we just pray and hope we have steered in the right path.”
During the peak of the recession in late 2010, Burberry Corporation defied city analysts with its 30% increase in sales, making the luxury brand an estimated £830m. Shaun uses these figures as reassurance the label can defy pessimistic outlooks and break general analytical doubts.
His new collection has been labeled by one fashion blogger as “the birth of cool meets Lagerfeld and Vivienne Westwood’s love child.” The comparison with two strong and recession proof fashion houses clearly strikes a positive cord with Shaun as he explains: “Frequent comparisons of my work with established fashion houses as such serves as my compass towards the right direction as these are the type of brands I aspire to be like.”
Without doubt, Shaun Akanbi’s latest capsule collection proves promising. His in depth combination of unorthodox fabrics and unique prints bring a new level of luxury to the Billy Boyce brand. Shaun has primarily stepped up his game at a time when investment, security and financial stability have become turbulent and although his sights are set firmly to the sky, he promises not to leave anyone behind. No matter what your zip code.
Photographer: Benjamin Glean
Special thanks to Shaun Akanbi and Sally Anderson