London Fashion Week Men's goes co-ed, boosts new talent, Tinie Tempah joins in
Co-ed, See-now-buy-now. Tinie Tempah, Vivienne Westwood. New name. Just some of the headlines for London Fashion Week Men’s, running January 6-9 at Store Studios on The Strand. It looks set to be the most interesting yet as the industry transitions to new co-ed and season-neutral business models.
The rebranded event (formerly London Collections Men) could be the most co-ed ‘men’s’ fashion week yet. Tearing down gender barriers for AW17/18 are Nigel Cabourn (January 6), Katie Eary, YMC, Casely-Hayford, Astrid Andersen and Agi & Sam x The Woolmark Company (January 7), Marharishi, Sibling and Christopher Raeburn (January 8), and Belstaff, Vivienne Westwood and John Smedley (January 9). Those are just the labels that have said in advance they’ll be including womenswear.
There had been concerns that the bigger buzz around women’s fashion weeks would prove an irresistible draw for co-ed shows, especially when Burberry quit the men’s schedule. So why has co-ed proved so popular for LFWM?
Sibling’s Cozette McCreery told Fashion Network: “Sibling is about being inclusive, and separating genders began to not feel right,” adding that: “It makes everything easier for us and our factories. Four shows a year is a killer. And then there is the expense. Also, we get more traction from press and social media at our menswear shows. That in turn pushes our women’s sales. LFW is OK for us press-wise but men’s beats it 80:20.”
Timing is key too. “Rather than seeing a buyer in January and the same buyer a month later I can see them just once. It also means our womenswear deliveries are earlier giving stores a longer period of full-price selling. And our factories are working on two sample collections and production deliveries only. It’s a win win.”
But while co-ed is increasingly popular, see-now-buy-now has stayed niche for LFWM. The few see-now-buy-now shows include Barbour (January 6), What We Wear, Edward Crutchley, and Agi & Sam(January 7), Maharishi and Chester Barrie (January 8), and John Smedley (January 9).
OLD FAVOURITES, NEW NAMES
Vivienne Westwood’s menswear return to London is big news too. The brand will show its men's and women's collection together (January 9). The womenswear line, formerly known as Red Label, and the menswear line, formerly known as Man (and shown in Milan) now make up the mainline women’s and men’s offering under the Vivienne Westwood umbrella.
As with Sibling, Westwood said the move to the men’s event is “part of a shift that aims to present the collections ahead of the sales period giving buyers a clear vision for the season prior to the appointments in the showroom.”
Outside of such big names, LFWM also has a compelling mix of new talent. Watch for Grace Wales-Bonner (January 9), winner of 2016’s LVMH Prize for Young Fashion Designers and with a reputation for ripping up gender stereotypes; and multi-award winner Craig Green (January 6).
Given the huge social media attention celebrity collections get, Tinie Tempah’s decision to show during LFWM, is likely to raise the week’s profile too. He has given few details, apart from saying he’s been inspired by Victoria’s Secret’s extravaganzas and that his show “will be very fun” and “spectacular”.
Equally interesting, River Island will showcase its Design Forum collaboration with London streetwear label Tourne de Transmission (January 6) with a film that’s airing as part of the Fashion Film evening with the British Fashion Council
Find more new talent from MAN and Fashion East’s events in the Topman Showspace at the Old Selfridges Hotel. Charles Jeffrey’s Loverboy, Feng Chen Wang and Per Götesson are back for the MAN line-up this time. The incubator platform previously sponsored Louis Vuitton’s Kim Jones, Jonathan Anderson, and Craig Green, among others, offering a showcase plus financial sponsorship and mentoring.
And Fashion East itself, at the same venue for the first time, welcomes newcomers Eden Loweth and Tom Barratt of Art School and James Buck and Luke Brooks or Rottingdean Bazaar.
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