Q&A With Abdul Abasi and Greg Rosborough of Abasi Rosborough
Abdul Abasi and Greg Rosborough created their Abasi Rosborough label as a response to what they perceived as a staid conservatism in the menswear market.
Now in its fifth season, Abasi Rosborough applies architectural precision to familiar aesthetic touchstones and global traditions.
In this Q&A the designers speak about conservative menswear, design fundamentals, the importance of setting standards.
Tell us a bit about where your interest in fashion and design started.
Abdul Abasi: I was always interested in art and design. It wasn’t until I moved to Europe, whilst I was in the army, that I really saw menswear in a particular light. After my stay of duty in Holland, I actually applied to FIT. They had a menswear degree program, where you learn the technique and the history of what menswear is about.
Tell me about the beginnings of Abasi Rosborough?
Greg Rosborough: After we both went to FIT, we had been, I would say, somewhat friends, but not really close friends. I went to work for Ralph Lauren. I was there for three years as a designer. One thing with Polo is you’re constantly looking back in the archive. It’s all about looking backwards, digging deeper, finding old heritage things, and I was like, I cannot keep going back to the archive and finding something new. I’m going to lose it.
I had this idea from when we were in school. The initial thing that I was thinking about was that tailoring as we know it today was originally developed in the 1870s in London. It was a derivative of formal clothes and military clothing. It became this thing called the suit, which was initially like a sportswear item they used for hunting and riding and things like that. It evolved into the business suit that we have as the gold standard of menswear today.
I thought, well, it’s a bit of a crime that no one in 140 years since this thing was developed has challenged it in a meaningful way. I called Abdul and we just had this great exchange. He was really on the same page. We started just prototyping.
Abdul Abasi: When we launched it, we launched it as an idea of a wardrobe with modular aspects. As New Yorkers, we’re going into different environments. You’re going underground, it’s hot, it’s cold, it’s air-conditioned. It’s all about peeling back layers. Everything has to function together.
I love the Middle Eastern influences in your work. I’ve always found it so ridiculous that — New York, for instance, is hot as hell in the summer – we have these beautiful histories of clothing from people who live in hot climates like the desert and know how to dress for that environment, yet we don’t access it at all.
Greg Rosborough: Exactly. New York is crazy hot in the summer, and we’ve been taking British dress, the suit and things like that, which is from a medium climate, a grey, rainy climate, and putting it into a hot, humid climate and saying, “Okay, this is what we have.” That’s a terrible thing.
Abasi Rosborough is exclusive to 4.
Shop the collection here.
Read the full interview at Media Redefined.