Go broke or die tryin’. Christopher Shannon’s collection seemed like a wittily disillusioned comment on the reality of the life of a young designer and the financial strain of running a label, with knitwear depicting plastic carrier bags emblazoned with ‘Thanks 4 nothing’, ‘Save me’ and a motif of a can of ‘Broke’ cola. The show – which was co-styled with, and featured jewellery by Judy Blame – was an honest and relevant message in a time when designers are struggling to afford not only shows but also the actual production of their collections, and when the pressure to make commercially viable clothes is becoming increasingly bigger.
Backstage, Shannon very apropos talked about moving his business forward and managing the balance between staying true to his references and ideas while also elevating them and bringing in a few more classic menswear elements. Sportswear codes were presented in a new light in more grown-up trousers shapes, and his rough, anti-glamour aesthetic was pushed forward via puffer jackets cinched at the waist with elasticated corsets, brilliant shredded popper suits and pinstriped peplum accents worn over slim tracksuit bottoms. “The thing is, that’s the top of a boxer short so it is a nod to another street code, another way of dressing, breaking those things a part a little bit, and trying to find a new line for sportswear,” Shannon said in reference to the latter. “Because I think that’s our job, isn’t it? I think that’s my job at least, apart from paying bills!”
In the lead-up to the show, Shannon had been teasing lots of plastic bags on his Instagram, and had, among other things, been looking at the work of photographer Nigel Shafran and his images of everyday objects and domestic scenes. The motif felt like a play not only on disposable fashion and throwaway culture, but also on the cliché notion of bin liner couture as models came out with ruffle neck details constructed in candy-striped plastic bags and with their faces covered by blue corner shop bags, designed by Dazed 100 make-up artist Isamaya Ffrench.