Hasani Walters, Gleaner Writer
Fashion and music make a fitting pair. As such, Grind London channels the reggae/dub culture through its first offering of the Autumn/Winter 2013 season - the Jah Bless collection - featuring tees, hats, button-down shirts and jackets.
Drawing inspiration from dub/reggae's roots and its emergence and longevity in London's culture, Grind London's Jah Bless pays homage to both genres and it's evolution in both sound and art.
"The use of dub/reggae as inspiration comes from a number of angles really. My mother and her friends were into reggae in a big way, so growing up at home, I was introduced to these sounds that were different to what I'd be hearing on TV or in friends' houses, and I think that's stuck with me," said Youssef, co-founder and head of design at Grind London.
"The distinctive sounds that are detectable within two seconds of any dub/reggae/ska track playing are unique to each genre, and that in itself is pretty powerful. For something to be so distinct is impressive. The feelings those sounds evoke personally, is something we aimed to portray within the aesthetics of the collection, in our own unique style of interpretation," he continued.
According to Youssef, these musical genres have had an indelible influence on the UK's subcultures.
"The collection drew specific inspiration from the emergence of reggae into the UK, and the evolution of its sound, the effect this new sound had in the city and said city's subcultures. The unification of rebellious subcultures that, prior to reggae's emergence, would have had little to no positive interactions with each other."
Jah Bless seemed to have been a suitable name to capture the feel of both the line and its musical stimulus.
"Jah Bless was used as the title as it was a phrase that stuck in our minds and instantly conveyed feelings of positivity. Spirituality has always interested me, but in this case, the phrase isn't meant to cosign any one religious practice, instead, just universal positive living," he said.
The line targets the fashion house's existing audience, as well as "like-minded people who appreciate substance with the aesthetics".
The Grind London brand is run by Youssef and long-time friend Barney. Both design all the items within the collection.