Emerging designers more than ever centre stage at London Fashion Week Men’s
London Fashion Week Men’s kicks off on Friday 8 June, as the European menswear show marathon continues after Florence and Milan, before ending in Paris on 24 June. Like the other fashion capitals, London too has been affected by the constantly changing strategies of fashion labels, with a flurry of names going co-ed or shifting to the womenswear calendar. The programme of the London menswear event’s 12th edition, for the Spring/Summer 2019 collections, is concentrated in three days and one evening and, once more, the unbridled creativity of emerging designers will be the main attraction.
Between Friday 8 and Monday 11 June, some 50 labels will present their latest creations, staging 27 catwalk shows and 16 presentations. First off, on Friday night, will be Iceberg. The long-established Italian label owned by the Gilmar group, a knitwear specialist which had its glory days under the aegis of French designer Jean-Charles de Castelbajac between 1976 and 1987, is the guest of honour of this fashion week, where it will show for the first time.
The fact that Iceberg is now designed by James Long has certainly eased the Italian label’s way onto the London catwalks. The British designer was one of the first to show at the London Fashion Week Men’s with his own ready-to-wear label. Iceberg will be presenting both its men’s collection for next summer, and a selection of looks from the women’s pre-collection.
Among the best-known names on the calendar, the ever-present Hussein Chalayan, the talented Turkish-Cypriot designer based in London, and long-established men’s label Kent & Curwen. The latter is enjoying a new lease of life under new owners, among them ex-footballer David Beckham, himself involved with the collection alongside Creative Director Daniel Kearns. Kent & Curwen will forego the luncheon-presentation format, opting for a show on Sunday, just after Chalayan, which will show at its store.
Some of London’s other leading lights are instead absent: from Craig Green, who will exceptionally move to Florence, where he will show on 14 June as guest of honour at Pitti Uomo; to Vivienne Westwood and Grace Wales Bonner, both giving this edition a miss, having decided to review their presentation format.
The London calendar will nevertheless feature Oliver Spencer, Cottweiler, Christopher Raeburn, Xander Zhou, the first Chinese menswear designer to show in London, Danish designer Astrid Andersen and Matthew Miller, the winner in the menswear category at the Woolmark Prize 2017-18 last January.
The capital of creativity, as London is labelled by the British fashion establishment, will also proudly showcase its array of rising fashion stars, whether newly emerging designers staging their maiden London shows or the other young talents, who already graced the London catwalks in previous seasons. Two names to follow closely are Daniel W. Fletcher, who will graduate from a presentation to a fully fledged show, and Jamaican-born British designer Martine Rose, back on the calendar after skipping the January session.
The spotlights will also zoom in on the emerging British labels which made the LVMH prize shortlist this year. Like Samuel Ross, whose streetwear label A-Cold-Wall, a semi-finalist at the Woolmark Prize too, will show on Sunday. Ross grew up on the outskirts of the British capital and his brand is a magnet for collaborations (with Nike, Levi's and potentially also Diesel). Another name to watch out for is Scottish designer Charles Jeffrey, who in less than two seasons has become the darling of London fashion. The eagerly awaited show of his zany label Charles Jeffrey Loverboy is scheduled on Monday.
To better showcase the unbridled creativity of its up-and-coming names, the British Fashion Council has set up The DiscoveryLAB, a venue where emerging designers can stage experiential events blending together fashion, technology, art and entertainment. The DiscoveryLAB will notably host must-see presentations by CV22 Rugby England and Something To Hate On.
Besides Iceberg, two other new entries on the London calendar this season, both supported by the GQ China magazine, are the Chinese designer duos of Haoran Li and Siying Qu with their Private Policy label, and Une Yea and Shimo Zhou with Staffonly. All four designers trained at fashion schools in the UK.
Among the other rookie names there are Los Angeles street and sportswear label C2H4; genderless South Korean label Blindness, launched in 2013 by KyuYong Shin and JiSun Park, which until now showed in Seoul and was on the 21-name longlist for the LVMH Prize this year; and finally, Irish designer Sharon Wauchob, who already shows in London with her womenswear. She joins the menswear calendar with the Sharon Wauchob x Norton & Sons project, in collaboration with the long-established Savile Row tailor.
The London scene will also be buzzing with parties, notably the special events organised by Topman and the exclusive Burberry gala evening. At the end of the week, on Monday morning, David Beckham will fête the best young British fashion industry talent at the Designer Showrooms, organised by the London Fashion Week and the British Fashion Council to support young designers.
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