The shows that stole christmas

In a new film by Amy Gwatkin, we uncover the darker side of London menswear and the woes of a lost christmas

While some of us still squint bleary-eyed through the recollections of Christmas and New Year, London’s menswear designers are putting the final touches to their AW14 collections. London Collections: Men kicks off on Monday, and ‘The Shows That Stole Christmas’ profiles four designers and their experience of working through one of fashion’s most frantic time of year.

Though shiny on the outside, every round of womenswear shows we ball through arrives in a cloud of dust raised by the menswear collections that precede them. It’s the harsh reality of the fashion industry: fast-paced seasons, the clash of womenswear and menswear and those designers that nobly attempt to bridge the gap by showing both together. But one of the saddest aspects is the predicament this timing puts on our menswear designers at Christmas, forced to work non-stop over the festive season in order to make their deadline for the January collections.

Is there still no solution? Before, London menswear had a single day to show at the end of the womenswear week – which itself clashed with the start of Milan. Since being given its own standalone fashion week, menswear in London has boomed massively, but this shouldn’t be at the expense of the designers who make it possible. Though it can’t be argued that womenswear designers aren’t also working across the holiday period, it’s the menswear designers that really have their festive season blacked out, and their collections jeopardized, by the looming onslaught of their twice-yearly time to shine.

The issue is compounded by the fact that over the last few decades, many key fashion manufacturers have closed their doors, making unavailable much of the prized artisanal knowledge that London’s fashion industry has been built on. And those that are left close down over Christmas, squeezing resources and making it near impossible for designers to produce a collection in time. London menswear as an industry has built a strong reputation for fearless creativity and sincere craftsmanship in the face of fierce competitive artistry from major fashion cities worldwide. Our designers take their global inspirations and turn them into titillating collections that spark ongoing international dialogues. But should a mere matter of dates come at the sacrifice of one of the year’s most precious times?