Visual Artistic Garments – Vidal Bull and Alan Adewale
Vidal Bull and Alan Adewale are the London-based fashion duo behind the successful brand Visual Artistic Garments.
With no background in fashion but determined to be successful and happy, both 29 years old set out to make their future count even before graduating from University.
Vidal explains how their love for creating things has led to their brand been featured in several top fashionable magazines and partnering with well-known global brands.
“Whatever you put in is all you get out”
“We’ve had the business since 2009 but we started trading in 2010. We mainly sell through online stores like Asos Marketplace, Asos and TrendsetUK. We attend lots of trade shows around the world like Bread and Butter in Germany and Crepe City in London.
Alan and I started as really good friends from university (University of Bedfordshire, Luton) and we lived in the same student hall.
I was into fashion a lot, with my Mohican hair and colourful clothes, and Alan suggested that maybe we should start a fashion label someday.
I thought it was cool and it would be fun.
We went on holiday to Ayia Napa and sat down on the beach and thought that maybe when we get back to our second year of university we should think about what we want to do for our future when we finish.
So we started working on that idea and it grew really quickly.
We came back and decided to put on a fashion show in Luton and Leicester university in 2008.
We were not selling anything but just putting on shows and sending a few t-shirts. It was not a business but we wanted to see how people would react to what we designed in terms of the logos and the clothes.
We worked in Marks and Spencer as well – it was our day job for two days a week. We were saving our money and our student loan helped as well.
We actually studied Media Production at University. Alan did graphic design and he was really good at creating things and I was good at Photoshop because of what I studied at college.
I thought I’d be doing that more when I got to university, which I didn’t. We taught each other a few things and put ideas together.
“We want to be successful and happy”
Graduation was a difficult time. Everybody went home and we didn’t know what to do but we wanted to carry on with the brand.
London is a big place where you’re always discovering new places and new people.
So we decided to put on more fashion shows again in Farringdon at a club called Ghost. We visited different universities like Leicester, Birmingham, Liverpool, Luton, Kingston and got everyone to get coaches down to London.
We just made clothes to display on the show. We didn’t make any money or sold anything.
We do lots of research for our designs and it could be anything from studying what people are wearing on the street and also looking at the latest trends.
I sometimes discuss with my partner (Alan) about how amazing a particular jacket looks like and maybe we should do something similar. Maybe have it in a different cut or raise it up a bit higher around the bottom part.
We sometimes study Fashionbeans, which is more like a men-predominant fashion stylist website and it just gives you all the latest up to date trends.
We then tweak it around so it represents VA Garments.
On the other hand, most of our leather jackets that we’ve created ourselves has its own unique structure and our own signature stamp.
Other than our own brand, I design for another company called Rapha (a cycling brand) and Evan Cycles. Alan works for Ralph Lauren within their management department.
We’re both part-timers on the side.
There aren’t lots of UK black designers who do fashion – not to the scale that we’re doing it. Our clothes have been worn by Jagged Edge, Trey Songz, Tyga, Wretch 32 and Ed Sheeran.
We’re also an official supplier of Barclays and it’s an ongoing contract.
When I wake up in the morning and when I go to bed, this is one of the things that makes me happy.
Breaking Down Barriers
The attitude that we get from people sometimes, when we go to a meeting, is they see our colour and you can tell.
I think it’s more of a perception.
Obviously our work speaks for itself – we’ve been featured in British Vogue magazine, GQ, Men’s Health and Men’s Fitness.
I think the barrier comes down because the work that we’ve been doing has been really phenomenal, regardless of what colour we are.
Moving forward, we are thinking about expanding more internationally like opening a store in Germany and Sweden.
Maybe a partnership with another big retail organization like Selfridges, Harvey Nichols, River Island and even H&M.
Our inspiration behind this is to be successful and happy. Whatever you put in is all you get out.”