A slimmed-down schedule meant that smaller-scale designers were the big winners of fashion’s first 2018 outing
There’s change in the air. An increasing number of heavy-hitting brands are transitioning to a single show, exhibiting men’s and women’s collections side by side at February’s (originally womenswear-only) London Fashion Week. Unfortunately, this means January’s London Fashion Week Men’s is losing out on some of the big-pull names – where JW Anderson, Burberry and Vivienne Westwood took part in previous LFWMs, all have decided to focus efforts on the February show.
However, with loss comes opportunity, and the departure of some of the bigger names was a boon for a raft of plucky British designers, whose collective showing was characterised by creativity and ingenuity.
If Nicholas Daley’s second NEWGEN presentation is anything to go by, the traditional catwalk show might be seeing a contender. ‘RED CLAY’, inspired by Freddie Hubbard’s 1970 soul-jazz album, focuses on tweed; its traditional beginnings and its assimilation into jazz culture. Daley collaborated with some of the UK’s best contemporary jazz artists – Mansur Brown, Yussef Dayes, Shabaka Hutchings and Alfa Mist – to put on a session, with each musician wearing the AW18 collection.
Starting from two images – one of a Shetland farmer wearing a tweed baker boy hat, the other, taken 100 years later, of Miles Davis wearing the same style of headwear – Daley created a collection that is informed by his own Scottish heritage, and worked with Scottish fabric mill Lovat, knitwear company William Lockie, English hatmaker Christys’ and Northampton shoemaker George Cox.
Granted, 94-year-old Belstaff isn’t what you’d call a small British brand. However, 2018 sees the 70th anniversary of the four-pocket Trialmaster jacket, originally designed to protect against the elements at the Scottish Six Day Trial. At LFWM, Belstaff celebrated its most famous design with an exhibition of Trialmasters through the years, leading creative director Delphine Ninous to look into English subcultures for Belstaff’s AW18 collection. The result was a dual-gender collection, full of influences from mods, rockers, punks and skins, all unique cultures, but all connected by the common thread of customised Belstaff pieces.
What We Wear
Tinie Tempah’s fledging brand has gathered a strong group of admirers in the little time it’s been a fixture on the LFWM agenda. This season, Tempah has been inspired by London’s workforce and the uniforms seen across the capital: the DLR operator, the window cleaner and the construction worker. A pared-back collection with an understated colour palette of khaki, grey, navy and black combines with safety neon orange and reflective strips to make the uniform individual. Technical fabrics like cargo, nylon and coated cotton give the collection a utilitarian feel, but others such as soft knits add comfort. What We Wear has also paired with Amsterdam-based Filling Pieces to release a collection of footwear along the same aesthetic.