Art Really Does Come First - Interview With Vegan Punk Tailor Sam Lambert Of Art Comes First
Art Comes First is a British sartorial duo, which was created by its founders, Sam Lambert and Shaka Maidoh. Over the past few years, the pair has established themselves as iconic fashion tastemakers by managing to fuse the worlds of bespoke tailoring and streetwear to develop an edgy new look consisting of mostly monochromatic outfits that fashion heads just can't seem to get enough of. The collective is based in London and draws inspiration from a variety of subcultures such punk, skinheads, and mods. Their aesthetic is predominantly composed of vintage motifs borrowed from the fashion of the past and then reworked into modern items to give them a more contemporary personality. The pair met outside of a nightclub through a mutual acquaintance and soon developed a creative friendship over time working on everything from music to photography and fashion. The concept for the Art Comes First brand was created in Sweden where Sam lived for a few years and ran his own boutique before moving to London to learn from the pros at Saville Row. The ACF brand has grown a cult-like following since its establishment and produces very limited collectibles which are highly sought after. Their work also consists of styling and brand consultancy services. Some of their highlight achievements to date include collaborations with major brands such as Fred Perry and The Kooples.
Sam is the son of a tailor and was born in Angola, but grew up between Spain and the UK. He studied photography but chose fashion design as his path due to influences like growing up near the vintage market on Portobello Road in London and watching his Dad do a lot of cut and sew work at home. He developed a passion for customizing his clothes at a very early age and the habit has stuck ever since. During his time at Saville Row, he was a protégé of Ozwald Boateng and used that experience to help make ACF what it is today. He is a true black gypsy with a diverse global footprint and the first and coolest vegan, punk tailor that we know of.
- How long have you been vegan for and what inspired your decision for a plant-based lifestyle?
I've been vegan for 2 years and vegetarian for 19 years so it was a natural transition.
What inspired me was health lifestyle, Ital is vital so I made sure to keep it that way.
- What does your regular diet look like and how much cooking is involved?
My regular diet consists of mushrooms and lots of beans, a lot of fruits. I eat a lot of nuts every day, I make lots of smoothies and cold soups.
I fix my food really fast, I call it healthy fast food, just heat up some falafel, beans or fried mushrooms. The rest is all raw greens.
- You do a lot of traveling for work which I presume involves a lot of eating out and late night takeaways - where have you enjoyed the best cuisine and what would you recommend?
Yes, it gets a bit difficult with travels but to tell you the truth there is always some sort of guardian angel in each country to cook for us or take us to the right places to eat.
One of my musician friends (HYPNOTIC BRASS ENSEMBLE) he is raw vegan and he says avocado goes a long way. You can always find this in almost any grocery store.
I enjoy every cuisine so everywhere I been it seems like veganism is spreading. We often use this application happy cow, Or sometimes google is the best, I just type "vegan and the city where I'm at". Keep it simple.
- Punk seems to be a recurring theme in your designs and aesthetic - Do you consider yourselves a creative activist against some societal issue or is it just a nice look?
I don't do things just for the look of it, I'm a self-expressive person, I'm here to inspire or to be inspired.
I CANT HELP IT, IN THE WORDS OF NINA SIMONE " ITS AN ARTIST'S DUTY TO REFLECT THE TIMES"
The punk aesthetic you see in our work is the art of knowing yourself, It's like what JAY Z says "Remind yourself, nobody built like you, you design yourself."
- Who are some of the different artists you look up to who have most inspired and influenced what you do?
Jimi Hendrix, Papa Nsingi Lambert & Shaka Maidoh.
- What is your defining statement or message which you would like humanity to know or be remembered for?
ACF ( ARTIST CANT FEAR)
- Your favorite song of all time?
This one is tough coz I got lots but I guess I will go with, SKIP JAMES 'HARD TIME KILLING FLOOR BLUES'.