Charles Jeffrey LOVERBOY’s SOLASTA livestream raises funds for UK Black Pride

ON Saturday as part of London Fashion Week, the Glaswegian designer, artist and radical creative, Charles Jeffrey shared a livestream that was radically different to the original collection he had intended to debut two weeks before.

Charles Jeffrey had planned to stage a party to showcase his collection – reminiscent of bygone LOVERBOY gatherings past with a 2020 vision. However, in light of the vital Anti-racist movement which has reverberated around the world – a drastic reconsideration was needed by people and brands of influence everywhere. Jeffrey reconfigured his Fashion Week platform to raise attention to these issues, creating an outlet for important performance and conversations.

Released in two halves, Jeffrey delivered a photographic campaign in tandem with a talent showcase, giving space and attention to the voices of POC talent. Both creating a revenue stream to support marginalised communities through UK black Pride and the Kaleidoscope Trust.

The showcase, named SOLASTA  – the word being Gaelic for luminous and shining – ensued, a platform for London-based multi-disciplinary Black creatives as bright stars of fashion and art. From the basement of Dalston’s VFD – where the LOVERBOY nightclub and subsequently label was born – a line-up of creative individuals lent their talents to LOVERBOY and London Fashion Week.

Miss Jason, in Charles Jeffrey LOVERBOY SOLASTA

Against a backdrop of Jeffrey’s illustrations, in a low-ceilinged basement room – the DJ and presenter of Jason’s Closet, Miss Jason MC hosted an evening of performance and presentation on a floor covered in rose petals. Miss Jason, clad in Jeffrey’s collection – wearing a peaked tartan Tam o’Shanter hat and matching bag – introduced the evening, raising awareness of UK Black Pride.

Miss Jason announced the newly re-ignited organisation this Pride Month as Europe’s largest celebration for LGBTQ people of African, Asian, Caribbean, Middle Eastern and Latin American descent – highlighting the importance of the organisation and its promotion of the “spiritual, emotional, and intellectual health and wellbeing” of their communities.

Malik Nashad Sharpe, performing in Charles Jeffrey LOVERBOY SOLASTA

The first performance of the evening was London-based choreographer, dancer and movement director, Malik Nashad Sharpe. Having garnered a cult-underground following, the rising-star gave an emotional performance.

Their movements enhanced with the elongated drapery and flowing translucent mesh of a multi-layered suit and trailing-hem trousers. The suit in question was from the “Cool Rasta” Collection of up-and-coming designer, Catherine Hudson.

Catherine Hudson designs, courtesy of Catherine Hudson’s  instagram

Hudson featured next, giving an introduction to her work as a recent graduate of the University of Westminster where she studied under Jeffrey. As a Black British person of Jamaican heritage, Hudson visualises the stories of the Rock Steady bands migrating from Jamaica to the UK.

Through these themes of displacement, she drew her designs by free-hand drafting in busy locations around London, channelling a sense of unbelonging. Her pieces tell and spread the narrative of the “displaced diaspora” as she states, “I am one voice among many, and as it is said in Jamaica ‘out of many, one people’.”

Rachel Chinouriri performing in Charles Jeffrey LOVERBOY SOLASTA

The Croydon-based singer-songwriter, Rachel Chinouriri followed, performing her heartfelt song Give Me a Reason. The 21 year old appeared wearing the designs of Halina Edwards‘ MA collection.

Halina Edwards designs, image courtesy of Halina Edwards instagram

Edwards, also a graduate of the University of Westminster, and a researcher for The Black Curriculum, seeks to educate through her designs. Her work with the Black Curriculum, promoting the need for education of Black British history in the UK curriculum, is reflected in her designs where she voices Black British histories into mainstream consciousness.

She advocates for the need to be “curious” and engage with these histories –  as shown in her practice, with the stories her clothes tell.

Kai-Isaiah Jamal performing in Charles Jeffrey LOVERBOY SOLASTA

Finishing the evening was Kai-Isaiah Jamal, the spoken-word artist, performer, model and visibility activist. His work aims to diffract the literary mainstream, including and centring black, trans/queer and marginalised identities. Jamal performed in a splattered denim ensemble from Jeffrey’s new collection.

Miss Jason ended, stating that if you had “learnt something, felt something or taken something from this showcase” to donate whatever you able to LOVERBOY’S fundraising effort for UK Black Pride.

The performances and individuals speaking and acting this evening created a powerful message to the rest of the fashion community. With Anti-racism promoting a reconsideration and reform of the status-quo – positive change is needed in all aspects of life and fashion needs to move to make and enforce these changes.

Images from Charles Jeffrey LOVERBOY A/W 21

Charles Jeffrey’s 20-piece unisex collection, entitled (Self)Portrait of a LOVERBOY is an ensemble of graphic jersey, knitwear and accessories. The collection is to be sold globally December 2020 with five per cent of the proceeds donated to Kaleidoscope Trust.

Watch the live-stream from Saturday below or on the London Fashion Week site.

by Rosie Fitter