New Designers, Old Favorites At London Fashion Week For Men – Forbes
A fashion week for men has become a regular fixture on London’s fashion calendar each January and June. Since it started as a one day display of menswear at the end of London Fashion Week, London Fashion Week Men’s has grown each season and now in its tenth year, it runs over several days. When the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, opened this January’s event, he commented that âfashion is the largest employer of all our creative industries, supporting almost 800,000 jobs and worth an astonishing £28 billion to the UK economy” and no doubt he’d agree that a growing proportion of that is from men’s fashion.
The main venue for catwalk shows, presentations and an exhibition of designers’ new collections is The Store Studios on the Strand in a former office block with fabulous views across the Thames. I’ve selected a few highlights from the fall and winter 2017 collections of both new and established brands.
There was a buzz in queue outside the Kent & Curwen collection not just in anticipation of seeing the new collection but because David Beckham was inside. David Beckham is a partner in the business and the fall/winter 2017 collection began as a conversation between David Beckham and the brand’s creative director, Daniel Kearns. Outerwear figures strongly in the fall collection with military style overcoats inspired by the original heavy olive wool coats worn by officers in the first world war. Heavy cotton twill tunic shirts with detachable collars were also on display and burgundy, royal blue and khaki are the dominant colors of the collection.
Private White VC’s presentation was held at their store in Mayfair. This brand also takes inspiration from the first world war and is named after Private Jack White who was awarded the Victoria Cross for bravery. After the war Private White apprenticed as a pattern cutter at a clothing factory in Manchester which he went on to own. His great grandchildren run the factory today which manufactures all the Private White VC’s garments.
The classic pieces in the Private White VC collection, often inspired by military garments, are all made from UK fabrics in this Manchester factory. The collection is designed by Nick Ashley, the son of famous interiors designer Laura Ashley. We ran into another superstar footballer at Private White, Dele Alli, Tottenham’s young midfielder.
Maharishi‘s Tour d’Afrique catwalk showcased the usual brilliant collection we’ve come to expect from this brand founded by Hardy Blechman in 1994. The brand’s ethos is to create fair-trade produced, long-lasting, high-quality, utilitarian clothing. The fall/winter 2017 collection includes, as always, natural fibre hemp as well as organic cottons and upcycled military clothing. The brand has many fans, including our third footballer sighting, Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin, sitting across from us the catwalk show.
As one of the few female designers for men, Lou Dalton is a firm favorite of mine. British-born designer Lou Dalton left high school to take up an apprenticeship in bespoke tailoring but returned to school to attend the Royal College of Art Menswear course and started her label in 2008. Her main collections are sold in luxury outlets like Liberty and Dover Street Market and she has also created capsule collections for high street chain River Island. Her new collection is filled with pastel pink, orange and yellow, clearly meant to cheer us up on a dull winter’s day. The collection also includes a collaboration with Lou Dalton and knitwear designer John Smedley for a limited edition sweater. A specially commissioned film made by Josh Hight featuring one of Lou’s biggest fans, the actor Russell Tovey (Being Human and Quantico) further showcases the collection.
Russell Tovey wearing Lou Dalton’s fall/winter collection