The privilege of being the first designers to share the stage at the inaugural New Gen Man fittingly went to James Long and Carolyn Massey. In many ways the two very different designers perfectly capsulate what’s great about London’s meanswear scene, and why it deserves it’s very own day at London Fashion Week, if not even more…wink, wink!
Massey delivered a measured and mature collection, while Long rightly took it upon himself to push boundaries and to see just how far us guys will be willing to follow him on the slippery road to fashion nirvana. As such, Long made it a bit easier for us this season, especially if you like leather! He had promised a more wearable collection, and there were definitely pieces – sleeveless biker jackets, trench coats and tops – that will go down a storm.
But Long wasn’t going to let go of this opportunity to show that leather – besides his famous knitwear – is a fabric he fully masters. Patchwork tops, elaborate trousers and a utility harness in moss green all furthered the tight, sleek and shiny leather look. In terms of colours, Long went for shimmering green and gold in a patent leather, and a customised camouflage pattern, which became the red thread throughout his show. the urban guerrilla look was James Longified by the presence of man bags and sunglasses. Afterwards, Dazed Digital spoke quickly to the designer:
Dazed Digital: What inspired the collection?
James Long: I started out by looking at Andy Warhol’s oxidation paintings. He used to urinate on copper, which made it look a bit like a camouflage pattern. I always reference army, but I wanted this collection to look a bit war torn with an added shininess to it.
DD: Wasn’t it quite heavy for a summer collection?
James Long: Not really, leather is what I do so that’s what you’ll get from one of my collections. And a good piece should transcend seasons anyway!
DD: You mention leather as your trademark fabric, but you’re also very much into knitwear, aren’t you?
James Long: Yeah, I think they work really well with each other; it becomes a high finish contrast.
DD: Was the camouflage your way of doing adding a tougher, military side to the show?
James Long: As I said, I often look that way for inspiration, but I wanted to twist it and play with it – that’s why I added tie die, so it became my take on it!
DD: What’s it like being the first designer to show with New Gen MAN?
James Long: It feels amazing. If it wasn’t for this I wouldn’t have been able to do something, and it’s terrifying to do all that work and have nowhere to show it.
DD: What’s your favourite piece from the show?
James Long: I really like the cosmic bag and the camouflage mac – they’re going into my wardrobe!