It seems like there’s a fashion week about once a month in London, and this month kicked off with London Collections Men, or MEN’S FASHION WEEK. It was totes masc and it was totes femme, it was military, it was mellifluous, it was colourful and it was mad.
Conor James Webster has picked himself up off Cara Delevingne’s bedroom floor to give us the lowdown on some of this year’s most promising collections.
ART SCHOOL is a brand focussed on redefining the limitations of gendered ready-to-wear fashion. Directed by the creative partnership of Edith Loweth and Tom Barratt, ART SCHOOL is a platform to express their collective ideas both in art and design using luxury fashion as a communicative tool to explore contemporary queerness. The label is informed by the founders and their friends’ non-binary gender identities and aims to celebrate the idiosyncratic individuality of queer style.
ART SCHOOL’s latest collection is informed by Derek Jarman’s meditations on colour. In his manifesto Jarman talks about black leather and jet as the colour of crystals, the black arts or the beauty of black sheep and for ART SCHOOL they believe that these dark tones speak of hope and iridescence.
Launching his namesake label in 2012, Bobby Abley became a breakthrough in menswear of recent years after debuting his Little Mermaid inspired collection on the prestigious MAN catwalk for the inaugural London Collections: Men. Since then Abley has become known for his unique charm, wit and humour that blends nostalgic and playful pop culture imagery with contemporary menswear design. Disney, Star Wars, Power Rangers and even Xtina; Abley’s personal interests all boldly inspire his designs and have established his label as instantly recognisable.
From his London design studio, Abley has begun his domination of international markets and since gained a cult following amongst gay men and we cannot wait to see what he does next.
Winner of December’s emerging talent prize at the Fashion Awards, 27 year old Glaswegian, Jeffrey has become an indisputable star of London fashion through creating performance art with his fashion shows. Jeffrey’s latest collection, LOVERBOY, is based on his background and Alan Down’s 2005 gay gospel, The Velvet Rage, about growing up gay. This particular show was his way of showing that those who oppressed him did not beat him. However Jeffrey’s greatest strength lies within the clothes themselves. They’re never a background to his elaborate theatrics and are the reason he will thrive in the fashion industry for years to come.
Informed by critical theory, composition, literature and historical sources, Wales Bonner’s designs and considerable technical skill explore a hybrid of European and African approaches. Bonner’s A/W18 collection held a strong focus on racial identity, drawing influence from Creole culture in the Caribbean. Basing the show around a port in the Caribbean, they showcased clothes made up of hybrid pieces for land and sea with a collection dominated by suiting, outerwear and shirting.
Inspired by the British class system, A-COLD-WALL’s impact is beginning to make itself known in the fashion industry worldwide. Founded in 2015 by London based designer, Samuel Ross, his collections merge British working class uniforms with elements of Saville Row tailoring.
He handcrafts all garments, even down to the most basic T-shirts, which are hand dyed with Ross adding the logo taping himself.
The melancholic aura of A-COLD-WALL stems from the dire mood of Britain, which is just so self aware and charming. So it came as no surprise when Ross was drafted in to become part of Kanye’s design team for his own uniquely dystopian collections.