For years, London’s menswear shows at the British Fashion Week were improbably tagged onto the end of Women’s Fashion Week in September, missing a fair amount of buyers and press who had already upped sticks and moved on to Milan.
The timing also meant that British fashion designers were showing two months later than their French and Italian counterparts and, in turn, missed out on the ideal platform to flourish; given the wealth of talented young fashion designers that this nation has to offer.
Thankfully the British Fashion Council, with the expertise of Topman and NewGen Men, found space in their schedule ahead of the European fashion weeks for a three-day British fashion week celebrating the new slew of young fashion designers being tipped to prosper.
We take you through the designers that shone at London Collections: Men:
Now well into their stride, young fashion designers such as Christopher Shannon, who – judging from last season’s rather grey affair – was in danger of being stuck in a fashion rut, upped the ante for his SS show: A much-needed injection of colour (think zingy shades of magenta, purple and blue) was shot into his signature brand of streetwear. Stripes, logos and some brilliant show-pieces, topped off with collaborations with The Cambridge Satchel Company and Kickers meant the young designers collection moved forward yet remained true to his brand.
J.W Anderson, whose pulling power was proven thanks to a 9am Sunday show, took an androgynous turn with models striding down the British catwalk in black headscarves, glitter dripping down their faces, in lace suits and nylon flares. Perhaps a shocker at first, but sure to be enough to capture the young fashion crowds imagination.
James Long’s signature brand of luxe knitwear has earned him collaboration with Topman later this year. He didn’t disappoint with his latest line of knits; flecked with gold and teamed with high-waisted leather shorts and bomber jackets. Young British fashion designers are taking lots of inspiration from his designs and rightly so; they are truly impressive.
Jonathan Saunders’ show was just what we had come to expect from the young Scottsman as he continues to show why he has been dubbed as one of the best young British fashion designers of today. Already a womenswear favourite, this season sees him taking influence from David Bowie and op art print to produce brightly coloured knits, patterned suiting & graphic tees in luscious primaries.
A new addition to the schedule, having previously presented at the Fashion East exhibition, Sibling’s signature line of knitwear looks set to garner a cult following. Amongst the masks and sequin-adorned sweater, were some great knitwear pieces in sporty styles and summery hues.
Brushing off the darkness of its previous season, Topman Design had never looked more youthful. Models sauntered down the neon-lit catwalk looking like surfers who had lost their way en route to the half pipe – such was the amount of long hair, mesh, and 90’s-inspired prints, topped with bright coloured beanies and oversized backpacks in shades of cyan and magenta.
The MAN, supported by NewGen Men and Topman, hosted shows for second time showers Agi & Sam, Astrid Anderssen and Shaun Samson. For the former, printed suiting in pastel shades have become the design team’s strength as this season broke out with a British Fashion Week show that was both wearable and forward thinking. The latter two stuck to their own brand of sportswear in various guises. Samson opting for 90’s grunge in navy with shots of silver and Anderssen featured basketball attire in shades of primrose and claret mixed with lace and mesh.
Meadham Kirchoff was a highlight for many; housed in a double room above the ICA and decked out like a hedonistic squat. Flowers and empty wine bottles filled the room as models lay motionless on mattresses in grunge inspired pastels, plaids and florals; no doubt inspired by the designer duo’s adoration for Courtney Love and all things Riot Girl.
Richard James showed towards the end of the fashion weekend and brought in a celeb. crowd including Elton John and Tinie Tempah. It confirmed our (and many others’) beliefs that tailoring didn’t perhaps need its own show but was a great reminder of London menswear’s deep-rooted history in terms of tailoring and the adulation that young British designers look set to reclaim from newer labels such as Rake, Mr Start and E-Tautz.