Written by Sophie Winfield
The Letter, a brand that was born two years ago out of Mohammed Rabi’s love for leather jackets, showed their first capsule collection with Lone Design Club during London Fashion Week. After watching the terminator films as a young boy, designer Mohammed found his true love in leather, a material that is key to the existence of his brand. “Leather jackets are a timeless piece, and they look even better with wear” he said. “I would always mentally think ‘if I were to make a jacket and sell it to a customer, if she were to go on a date or out with her friends, what would the item do for her confidence level?’ a leather jacket just does that. You wear it and you feel like the coolest person in the room”.
The capsule collection doesn’t just consist of leather, though. Alongside the leather biker jacket hand painted with flames and palm trees and the leather blazer with contrasting trim, the collection features suede jackets, t-shirts and Hawaiian shirts made of recycled ocean plastic polyester. “I try to incorporate at least one of my favourite movies in each of my collections, this one is True Romance. At the beginning of the movie they go to watch a Kung-Fu movie, and he wears a Hawaiian shirt. So I made a Hawaiian shirt with nun chucks on it to symbolise the Kung-Fu movie”. It is these subtle allusions towards moments in popular culture that makes Mohammed’s collection feel wearable and extremely individual – there is a certain level of cool that is instantly associated with knowledge of old movies, something that is clearly not lost on Mohammed. Of course, he doesn’t create this collection with the sole motive of being cool, he is creating what he loves, inspired by an era he loves. The presentation itself in the basement of the Lone Design Club popup was styled as if it were a late 70’s/early 80’s basement. Movies like Lost Boys, The Outsiders and Rumble Fish inspired the collection which heavily features utility styles in shades of brown and olive green.
This is the first step that The Letter has taken towards sustainability, something that Mohammed is keen to venture further into as his brand grows. “I want to learn and be more educated on sustainable fashion. the only way things can change within the fashion industry is if we collaborate with each other. I want to be surrounded by the people at LDC and the knowledge of sustainability so that I can learn”. Just because his main focus is creating leather products doesn’t mean he isn’t excited about the move towards a more sustainable future. “I read that Stella McCartney has found a way to make leather from pineapple wood. If everyone collaborates – the fabricators, the people providing these materials – and made them affordable for everyone, then of course I will move towards a more sustainable alternative”. This understanding that the movement towards sustainability is a group effort, rather than the work of individuals, shows that there is still a long way to go regarding making sustainable clothes accessible, but with designers like Mohammed who understand that starting slow is often how you win the race, it seems as if the industry is slowly but surely being taken over by those who understand the importance of selling clothes that are beautiful and consciously created.