London Collections kicks off this Monday to showcase the very best of British menswear and I’m going to put my neck on the line to predict that this year will be the turning point of men’s fashion.
Like fashion week, London Collections is a bi-annual event showcasing a range of designers spanning recent graduates to established heritage brands seen on the well known Savile Row.
Based on the schedule I was sent, you’d be forgiven for not knowing London Collections is still in its infancy. Being only the 4th event of its kind it already has a list of designers spanning Christopher Kane & Burberry Porsum.
With the menswear sector growing rapidly over the last few years, London Collections is certainly helping put British menswear on the map by creating a new platform for designers and small independent labels to show the world their creative genius. One which is well over due!
Obviously over the last few years the internet has helped put the spotlight on menswear, highlighting media that already been around for years such as I-D & Dazed magazines but with the addition of ambassadors such as David Gandy and the mayor of London Boris Johnson plugging London Collections to any press journalist who is willing to listen! But their hard work seems to be paying off, as I am pleased to report that the UK menswear industry is now booming, bringing in “£10 billion to the UK’s economy and is growing at such a rate that it is predicted to overtake womenswear sales by 2016.” (British Fashion Council)
Any of you fashionistas out there will know “There is a fast food mentality to fashion “ (Oliver Spencer) seen predominantly in womenswear as we tend to buy clothes dependent on the season’s trends, giving the designers full control over the market. Menswear however is slightly different as the majority of men often “become attached to pieces” (Oliver Spencer) looking to buy items with longevity & durability that they can still wear in 5-6 years time, not necessarily what is ‘now’. As a result, what ends up in the stores is currently 50/50 designer/consumer lead, meaning designers are yet to unleash their full creative potential to the public.
This said, it’s interesting see the tide turning in men’s views towards fashion, where the average Jo is becoming more adventurous with what they wear and increasingly more men can be seen on the streets with their own eclectic style. They don’t just look for well known saturated labels such as Gucci or Next, but are open to new designers and are looking for something different, something more creative and individual in which to make a statement.
In addition to this, recent designers such as Mathew Miller, Katie Eary and Laurence Airline are all pushing the boundaries from the typical Savile Row tailoring. We all know Britain was the birthplace of the bowler hat, trench coat & 3 piece suit and we are lucky to have a rich heritage to inspire designers, but thankfully, there is now an exciting and growing marketplace with new styles, colours and textures where designers are having the freedom to put their own individual signature mark on their collections.
With the increasing media attention, exciting new designers and consumers eager for individuality, this is an exciting time for menswear in the UK.
I’ll be heading to London Collections to report on the event myself this week so I’ll publish my findings soon!