New year, new man. Here are five menswear designers to put on your radar this season
London Collections: Men continues to be one of the most exciting events in the non-stop calendar of global fashion weeks. Since its inception in 2012, the standalone showcase has allowed the country’s meswear designers to rise to the fore, offering a platform for the interpretation and deconstruction of masculinity through dressing. This season there’s plenty to keep an eye on – here are five names to make sure are on your radar for AW16.
Montreal-based designer Josh Reim released his first collection when he was fifteen, to critical acclaim, no less. A self-taught sewer, designer and creative director, the now 18-year-old enters London’s fashion arena for the first time this AW16. Known for his far-reaching, all-American style – from his Lauren-y pastel shirts and seersucker shorts (that turn into a skirt), to the cowboy flannel shirts and suede jackets of his last collection, the designer is already in talks with a bunch of the big buyers. Perhaps it takes the new new-generation to be so dismissive of gender, but to top it all off the designer’s pieces are neither for the man or the woman. They are simply, as he says, ‘for you’.
RORY PARNELL MOONEY
Of the big four fashion cities, London continues to be known for its anarchic attitude, and for the past three seasons Mooney’s work has been potently on message. Heavy in his use of black, huge volumes of fabric are juxtaposed with meticulously minimal design. Inspired by ritualistic dressing – from ecclesiastic robes to the uniform of Eastern European rioters – the Irish designer imbues his garments with a charged politic. This is not just long robes of black however: Malevichian style torso cut outs and bare legs manage to expose new erogenous zones on the menswear catwalk.
Hidden codes often take centre stage in the design process for Cottweiler’s creative duo Matt Dainty and Ben Cottrell; SS16 saw the Hare Krishna uniform reimagined in creamy bonded iridescents and luxe jersey fabrics. The now long-time collaborators with FKA twigs – having personally designed her first tour costumes – seem to have a knack for keeping their finger on a unique pulse, which continues to set them apart as one of the most accessible yet conceptual sportswear brands coming out of London.
Whether he’s pushing an OTT cowboy aesthetic or an 18-30s lads holiday feel, Alex Mullins is a designer whose diverse inspirations mark him out amongst the LC:M crowds. His clothes are all about contradictions: whether in fabrication – with couture-esque garments in down and dirty denims – or in theme – marrying the hyper-masculine world of the Americana cowboy to the hyper-camp world of the legendary John Waters. Mullins seems to attack each season from a refreshingly tongue-in-cheek vantage point, all the while producing clothes that people actually want to wear.
Pitted as a cross-pollination between J.W.Anderson and Raf Simons, there’s no doubt that the NEWGEN backed label looks set to bloom. A brand that is essentially intelligent workwear, LCF graduate Sebastiaan Pieter deftly explores the homoerotic side of masculinity. From cropped suiting, and long tunics in ultra soft jersey, to hooped earrings and sweaters which read the classic Grindr phrases ‘Masc’ and ‘Fun Now’, Pieter’s offerings aim to critique, or poke fun at, certain subcultural codes, all while set against a backdrop of absolute design quality.