Images by Ollie Grove
by Luke Leitch for VOGUE International 18.02.20
On the night that Tommy Hilfiger brought his juggernaut Now show to London’s Tate Modern, the ragtag Seven Sisters fashion/rave label Sports Banger threw open the doors of its 50-guest capacity studio—Maison de Bang Bang—and paid homage. About 20 minutes into a show/party that was soundtracked, modeled, and co-hosted by the acid house specialists Paranoid London, the singer Josh Caffe came out in his second look. Created for Banger by Max Allen, it was both a Hilfiger tribute and subversion, a bit of bootleg brilliance, and a piece in which it was hard to see where the spandex ended and the studded jockstrap began. Caffe’s first look, also an Allen arrangement, mixed ‘Giz a fiver’ printed pieces from last season and two sinister wings printed with fixed, wide, paranoid eyes peering through the Venetian blind that acted as this show’s backdrop. Banger called the ensemble “hedonist warlord.”
Elsewhere, Caffe’s co-MC Mutando Pintando did his thing, which is to stimulate and enrage via distorted guttural utterance, in his Stetson and a Banger-adapted Western jacket featuring fringing edged with steel nuts. Behind them Gerardo Delgado, Quinn Whalley, the co-founders of Paranoid London, were up behind their equipment playing records and torturing a 303. As the set progressed they changed through printed velour tracksuits, band label sweats, and a couple of “found” pieces that included a shopping bag hat and tubesock balaclava. The audience gibbered and danced the whole way through, screaming with every fresh look revealed. Those who suggest that London has “lost its cool," poor things, should think again: Banger is just one upstart outpost of on-the-fringes brilliance bubbling under in the capital right now.