Fewer shows but new talent featured at Men's Fashion Week

The luxury streetwear (left) of Edward Crutchley and the neo-punk, hip-hop wardrobe (right) of Liam Hodges will be on show.
The luxury streetwear (above) of Edward Crutchley and the neo-punk, hip-hop wardrobe of Liam Hodges will be on show.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

LONDON • Is the Men's Fashion Week, which kicked off in London over the weekend, still dressed for success?

After all, it has fewer shows and star names, with the digital revolution upsetting the industry.

But this fixture in the British fashion calendar is trying to stay relevant by going back to its roots and promoting a more youthful image.

Burberry deserted the event last year and now unveils its men's wardrobe at Women's Fashion Week, riding the trend towards less rigidity around gender.

JW Anderson, the label of Jonathan Anderson, who is artistic director of Spanish luxury leather goods line Loewe, has followed suit.

Punk icon Vivienne Westwood has said she will be presenting her autumn-winter 2018-19 collection not on a catwalk, but "through the form of film and imagery".

The luxury streetwear (left) of Edward Crutchley and the neo-punk, hip-hop wardrobe (right) of Liam Hodges will be on show.
The luxury streetwear of Edward Crutchley and the neo-punk, hip-hop wardrobe (above) of Liam Hodges will be on show. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

Designers have embraced a digital transformation of the industry in recent years.

"Not only are digital and combined menswear and womenswear shows often more cost-efficient, but such strategies also present the brand in a cohesive manner, while reaching new audiences," said Ms Samantha Dover of analysis firm Mintel.

Ms Kristabel Plummer, editor of fashion blog I Want You To Know, called the changes "sensible business decisions".

"There's no point doing things in the way they've always been done, if that's not right for the brand. Increased flexibility can only be a positive thing in this challenging consumer landscape," she said.

The drift away from London Men's Fashion Week by established designers has seen the number of parades drop by a dozen this year.

But its organiser - the British Fashion Council - hopes it can still flourish by allowing upcoming local designers to showcase their talents.

Ms Caroline Rush, its chief executive, said the 2018 edition will be "a celebration of discovery and the creative diversity" that has made London a hub for menswear.

A raft of emerging names in British fashion will feature their clothes, including the luxury streetwear of Edward Crutchley - dubbed a "rising star" by Vogue - and the neo-punk, hip-hop wardrobe of Liam Hodges.

"There's a variety of brands on the schedule," said Ms Plummer, pushing back on notions that London Men's Fashion Week is petering out. "Perhaps a new gem will emerge, thanks to the extra attention," she added.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 08, 2018, with the headline 'Fewer shows but new talent featured at Men's Fashion Week'. Print Edition | Subscribe