As ever, this season London Fashion Week Men’s showcased a breadth of exciting new and emerging talent, alongside established favourites, with a busy schedule of shows and events concluding today, 11 June. With the work of London’s triumphant young designers taking centre stage, Something Curated highlights the best from Spring/Summer 2020 menswear.
Craig Green has carved a distinct position in the industry, consistently earning both critical and commercial success with this signature workwear inspired pieces. With references spanning everything from late-night YouTube video spirals to Mexican Easter flags, Green’s SS20 collection was dense and beautiful. As well as revealing a new collaboration with Adidas, this season’s offering included a series of leather trousers, decoratively cut-out, papery-looking sets, and embroidered, plush silk pieces.
London-based Stefan Cooke is directed by Cooke and his partner Jake Burt. For SS20, the pair showed their first season with NEWGEN sponsorship. This season’s offering, entitled Drama Major, took its inspiration from NYU students and New York’s off-Broadway scene. Signature deconstructed knitwear was joined by corsetry detailed shirting, and hand-tied tulle featured on fascinating tops and trousers. Clearly, technique is at the heart of the process for their work and continues to be a force of innovation.
ART SCHOOL focuses on redefining the limitations of ready-to-wear fashion, rejecting divisions of menswear and womenswear to create a modern representation of unisex clothes. Directed by the creative partnership of Eden Loweth and Tom Barratt, this season the label presented an entirely monochromatic collection, placing a decided focus on the textures of their diverse and ornately embellished textiles. Dresses came covered in sequins and peppered with sprigs of ostrich feathers, while a shirt was adorned with glistening jewels.
Xander Zhou was the first menswear designer from China to be part of London Fashion Week Men’s. In his work, Zhou explores the boundaries between form and function, as well as the unique qualities of his materials. This season the designer looked to spirituality, drawing inspiration from a monistic aesthetic with traditional Japanese sandals, wrap dresses and sarongs taking centre stage. Zhou reconstructs classical forms by providing them with new contexts, at times blurring gender stereotypes in the process.
Mowalola, by Nigerian-born London-based Mowalola Ogunlesi, showcases menswear as you rarely see it: sexy and unhindered by stereotypes. Taking inspiration from celebrity couples of the 90s, from Marilyn Manson and Dita Von Teese, to Carmen Electra and Dennis Rodman, the designer’s latest collection included lurid neon cowhide sets, channelling 70s Americana with a psychedelic edge, alongside a memorable fuchsia dress, exposing a model’s breasts. SS20 was her second show and season with the support of Fashion East.
Kent-born Liam Hodges’ signature aesthetic demonstrates playful shapes and workwear detailing, communicated through a strong graphic language presented on oversized garments, including signature boiler suits, t-shirts and knitwear. Exploring contemporary tensions through the lense of sci-fi, for SS20, Hodges presented military-inspired trousers, signature graphic jumpers, subverted rugby gear, and denim, topped with punk hairstyles and make-up created using sticky-tape.
Scottish-born designer, illustrator and creative Charles Jeffrey’s LOVERBOY encompasses a fashion label and a cult club night, each informing the other. Presented at the British Library, models donned ensembles paying homage to various classical literary works. Patent leather raincoats with colourful collars, knitted tops adorned with painterly landscapes, and dramatically distressed trousers formed some of the most memorable looks this season.
Over the past decade, Martine Rose has proven herself as an anti-establishmentarian figure on the London menswear scene. Shunning for a long time the schedule, the designer showed her work sporadically through unusual formats. Now on the schedule, this season she offers her perspective on “Promising Britain,” continuing to hone her tongue-in-cheek take on fashion. Executive style suiting was paired with club kid makeup, while printed t-shirts featured cartoon clowns and the “Promising Britain” slogan, surrounded by the EU flag’s familiar yellow stars.
British designer Samuel Ross launched his label A-COLD-WALL* in late 2015, swiftly gaining the attention of press and buyers alike. Hosted at Printworks London, the A-COLD-WALL*’s SS20 show was open to the public following online registration, proposing a more democratising outlook on the typical Fashion Week show format. The focus of the clothes was on technique, texture and surface, but as always Ross kept utilitarian practicality and wearability, that is synonymous with A-COLD-WALL*, at the forefront.
Feature image: Stefan Cooke SS20 via NOWFASHION