In the bleak February of 2022, the UK was cautiously emerging from the restrictions of the pandemic under a government populated by vindictive policymakers, pathological liars and narcissists. In the midst of all this mess, a welcome distraction had arrived for Gareth McConnell in the form of an invitation from Sports Banger to attend a fashion show held in their studio in the depths of South Tottenham.
Since its inception, Sports Banger – an independent, multidisciplinary collective of creative minds and hearts – has instinctively sought to challenge conventions within the fashion industry. Hard to define, their work encompasses T-shirts with politically charged, often bootlegged graphics; a record label; frequents raves and parties; guerilla billboards; self-published books; the list goes on. They move freely between mediums and media, resisting conventional business structures or plans and connecting as much with ravers as NHS workers, kids, and pensioners.
The People Deserve Beauty is a large-format publication developed in collaboration with the artist Gareth McConnell and published by Sorika. This editorial presents some of the personalities from the catwalk show captured in various stages of dress and undress against a backdrop of fabrics printed with Sports Banger graphics and McConnell’s ethereal photographs.
The amalgamation of Sports Banger’s collaborative and inclusive attitude with McConnell’s lucid visual expressions amplifies the need for meaningful events like The People Deserve Beauty, particularly during politically challenging times. Banger’s loud, inspiring fashion show, thrown despite an epic storm, and this subsequent document show us how peripheral cultural spaces can harness collective energies to create something beautiful.
Photographs by Gareth McConnell
Collection by Sports Banger
Design & layout by Gareth McConnell
Text by Matt Williams
Typeset by Kieron Livingston
Edition of 223
28 x 37 cm
Printed by Printed Easy