London Collections: Men has done some fantastic work in moving London to the forefront of men’s fashion. When it was established, LC:M gave a platform to London based brands and designers to show the world what they can offer. With the growing success of the bi-yearly showcase the heads of international brands were turning and one by one they have been queuing up to get involved. For example Tiger of Sweden had ever only shown in their homeland before deciding to join the LC:M lineup. It is fast becoming the envy of the fashion world.
Attendees of the first few seasons were some fashionable British celebrities, a smattering of buyers from London department stores with a sprinkling of press and bloggers. Now the front row has actors, and singers sitting next to the likes of Wiz Khalifa, yep that’s right Wiz Khalifa that international fashion icon! It’s inevitable that the success of these types of shows attract people more interested in being seen on the front row rather than having a real interest in the catwalk show they are there to see.
What I love about London Collections: Men is that the eyes of the world are finally seeing London as a fashion destination. We have hundreds of years of manufacturing history which has always been overlooked in favour of trend led fast fashion. And this is where the confusion surrounding LC:M occurs for me. This year for example you can view a collection by London’s oldest tailor, Ede & Ravenscroft epitomising British tailoring and manufacturing, before seeing a catwalk show by Agi and Sam in which the models have lego stuck to their face. It hinders the chance heritage brands have to showcase their skills but also makes upcoming and emerging designers seem laughable when viewed alongside the former.
The way I would solve this would be to keep things separate. Why not have a two day event for arguments sake that celebrates the best of British fashion. Established hundreds of years ago these companies still follow original manufacturing traditions, employing skilled employees who learn their trade over a number of years. If possible for me highlights would include being able to view the cutting rooms of Savile Row tailors, or learn how a pair of handmade John Lobb shoes are crafted. This way we could have a second event that showcases emerging and established designers that break the rules and offer a more trend led alternative. They are just as important and this would solve the perplexity of suited men sitting on the front row watching Sibling deliver a pink extravaganza like this season.
Sam Brady is a menswear expert, having worked in or around the field for the past 14 years. He has built up a keen eye for detail when it comes to the production of clothing, and is happy showcasing the craftsmanship of Savile Row and Jermyn St. But he understands the need for an interchangeable modern man’s wardrobe that mixes high street and luxury clothing.