Written by Sara Khan
London Fashion Week Men’s returned in style and set the bar high on 8-12 June, and to celebrate its fifth birthday Tracey Emin designed a new logo in her signature handwriting. Since its conception, LFWM has hosted 250 catwalk shows, events, and presentations from over 200 emerging talents and established brands over the last five years.
Themes across the presentations and shows varied but there were some common threads that influenced the collections such as the environment, sustainability, culture and heritage, and socio-political issues. SS18 menswear trends to look out for include playing with layering, 90s style accessories, and vertical stripes.
Here are our highlights of this season’s spring/summer 2018 presentations and shows.
London-based brand KTZ is known for its urban, punk-inspired, and contemporary slogan covered clothing. For its SS18 collection, KTZ’s Creative Director Marjan Pejosk took his inspiration from Lord of the Flies by William Golding. The book focuses on a group of British boys stranded on an uninhabited island and their disastrous attempt to govern themselves. The show presented us at a point where the boys were already established on the island – between the old world and the new beginnings.
The SS18 presentation showcased beautiful post-apocalyptic, punk, and military inspired pieces. KTZ symbolised the old order of this world through the use of dark earthy tones peppered with the bright materials of the hope to come. The collection featured jackets with badges, slogans, and jagged metal stitching that seemed to keep the pieces together. There were basketball caps that heavily featured chainmail dropping like veils, metallic t-shirts, leather waistcoats, and distressed knitwear.
British designer Christopher Raeburn is a graduate of Royal College of Art, and is known for his re-appropriation of military fabrics and outerwear created from de-commissioned parachutes. This ethos of sustainability guides and influences every aspect of his design and development process.
Christopher took inspiration for his SS18 collection from the adventurous tales within The Long Walk by Slavomir Rawicz. The epic story tells of the adventurous journey taken by a Polish Army lieutenant from Siberia to India travelling through the Gobi Desert. This spirit of adventure is evident in the collection pieces that feature neon deconstructed pre-flown kites that were reworked to create macs and anoraks. He also created ponchos made from cooling cotton and 3D printed silicone patches. Slogans such as ‘remade’, ‘reduced’ and ‘recycled’ were placed across trailing tapes, trimmings, and ties that further emphasised the sustainable ethos of the brand.
London-based brand Astrid Andersen is known for her signature streetwear style that lead the path for a new generation in menswear. Astrid often takes inspiration from tradition and heritage but often marries this with the unfamiliar. For her SS18 collection, Astrid took her sportswear on Safari!
Fascinated by the historical depiction of Safari by fashion houses, exploration, and culture; Astrid’s collection reflects how a modern generation may be exposed to different cultures through the power of social media.
Astrid’s ‘archetypical Safari’ themed contemporary collection was not aimed at the uber-rich but towards a more millennial trend-setting consumer. She balanced the strong urban influences within the sweatshirts and tracksuits with feminine detailing such as using intricate lace, crushed velvet, and sheer fabrics. There were floral bomber jackets and the collection was styled with a selection of jewellery, by Danish brand Monies, which included chunky wooden cuffs and oversized crystal rings.
Leicester-born and London-based Nicholas Daley graduated from Central Saint Martins in 2013. The label often reflects Nicholas’ own multiracial heritage, and exploration of what British identity is having grown up in a culturally diverse environment. After spending time working on Savile Row, Nicholas grew an appreciation for preserving British craft. He has since tried to support the industry by ensuring that all the brand’s production is retained within the UK, and where possible fabrics are sourced locally.
For SS18, Nicholas drew upon his Jamaican, African, and Scottish heritage seeking to celebrate multiculturalism in Britain today. The presentation was set against a background of live sitar and tabia music. This reflected Nicholas’ research with the V&A where he discovered the historical relationship the British Empire had with South Asia relating to textiles trade. This research greatly influenced the look and fabrics used in the collection that included checked cloth, kilts, knitwear, and woven bags. In keeping with Nicholas’ locally sourced and produced ethos, the fabrics were from a number of mills across the UK, and he worked collaboratively with Glenisla to produce a bespoke Nicholas Daley Kilt.
The South Korean brand D.GNAK made its debut at LFWM. For Creative Director Kang Dong Jun, London presented an exciting new challenge, and another urban horizon for a global label which has the crossing and meeting of cultures at its heart. For SS18, D.GNAK found its main inspiration in the idea of the predestined, perfectly expressed in a single Chinese word which in English translates to “inevitable interaction”, or the coming together of two powers (yin and yuan) to one unstoppable end. In Buddhism, it's believed everything in the world is created by the meeting of yin and yuan – when it comes to fashion design, such chains of cause and effect are vital to the conception of a collection.
The collection featured traditional Korean clothing and Western tailoring using base colours of black, and white with oversize shapes and utility accessories. Bold reds, a colour symbolic of destiny, were also embroidered on the back of jackets with a word that appears in Sanskrit. Tailoring played was key to this collection and details such as belt loops, buckles, zips, and strings were also added to many pieces in order to accent the smart silhouettes.
Art Director, Fashion Designer, and Print Artist Katie Eary wanted to take streetwear back to its core values of youth, utilitarianism, and accessibility. HEr SS18 collection in collaboration with Boy London, Spliffy, and Pretty Green transported us through a sensory journey into Katie’s streetwear-obsessed adolescence. As a result we landed somewhere in an imaginary world that resembled Camden Market and The Fifth Element. The collection featured models walking down the runway with neon orb-shaped helmets, heavy trimmed denim, silk boxers, flight jackets, and oversized parkas and hoodies.
Katie’s distinctive prints appeared throughout the collection in the form of insects as a reminder of the world beneath us. All of this was set against a fantastic soundtrack of the modern day rave culture through to those of the 90s.
Originally from Kent, Liam Hodges takes his influences from hip hop, punk, and guerrilla militia. His signature style includes workwear detailing, bold graphics, and oversized t-shirts.
For Liam’s SS18 collection he teamed up with Fila and the theme of the collection responded to the overabundance of information faced by young people today. The information Liam was referring to was noise we are exposed to in our everyday lives that includes audio, media, political, and visual information. Liam was hoping to urge us to make noise in an already-deafening society through his collection. He used a teeth-bearing teddy bear as a symbolic motif to remind people of the underestimated power held by this generation – a statement that seemed fitting considering the resent youth turnout at the General Election.
Liam showcases his trademark streetwear style collection but with a twist taking inspiration from car modding to British folklore. Pieces included patchwork tracksuits, printed denim workwear, coloured shirts, sleeveless hunting-style jackets, and deerstalker hats. The bear was stitched onto jumpers as well as slogans such as ‘Faster’ and ‘Noise’ appeared throughout the collection. The show closed with an appearance from a real-life human-sized teeth-bearing bear.
London-based Bobby Abley is known for humorous, and unique contemporary designs that often are often nostalgic but with a playful twist. As a self-confessed cartoon fan, Bobby’s past collections have been inspired by and featured SpongeBob SquarePants, Power Rangers, Disney’s Aladdin, and of course his iconic trademark of the teddy bear.
For his SS18 collection we expected no difference in Bobby’s playful theme for the collection that we were happy to hear was titled Messy Fun. Bobby’s theme centred on celebrating the 20th anniversary of the children’s TV show Teletubbies. To the delight of the audience, Bobby youthfully used bright hues of purple, green, yellow, and red to dress the models reflecting the much loved characters of the show. Details such as zips on pieces and tassels on cow-print trousers were all showcased.
It wasn’t all fun and games as Bobby touched on the issue of Brexit through featuring the burgundy of the EU-passport on oversized coats and hoodies with the slogan ‘foreign’ across the front. This is reflective of how many designers within the industry have raised concerns over the negative impact Brexit is likely to have on the sector.