Now in its fourth year, London Collections Men, is an indication of the rising success of menswear within the industry and popular culture. It would seem that men have been given the OK to make public, their desire to dress well.
Perhaps the next step in evolution from the emphasis of heritage and craftsmanship in menswear in the last decade, is the rise of durable sports and streetwear, as well as the blurring of lines between gendered clothing.
With the recent announcement of Burberry combining their menswear and womenswear to produce just two shows per year (allowing them to sell online sooner); as well as a the ongoing discussion over the unsustainable pressure for designers to create up to 6 collections per year, a convergence between the segregation of gendered fashion systems is inevitable.
The following is an overview of shows we caught at the last LCM AW16:
Inspired by the clothing of factory workers, Nigel Cabourn created a collection of beautiful and resilient materials wonderfully produced with refined detailing. Established in 1927, Lybro became one of the most important work wear brands in the UK making garments for everyday workers throughout the decades until its demise. Breathing new life into this important heritage brand, Nigel Cabourn has introduced a new range of hard wearing vintage inspired work wear clothes, which are manufactured using the best British and Japanese fabrics and trims.
James Long's AW16 captured the spirit of combi-gendered dressing with its Gaucho inspired knits and harness boots designed by Christian Louboutin, together with glam rock and punk elements, such as Nick Cave styled hair and glitter sweaters.
Choosing 'Local Heroes' as the collection's theme, James Long describes: ‘It’s about the people we know and that we love, the fun people who inspire what we do everyday. It’s about the pieces we all wear – tracksuits, track pants, sweatshirts, fun things"
For their AW16 collection, designers at Maharishi evolved it's brand DNA citing influences from two key themes. The first being religious clothing from around the world contrasted with subcultures who shared "devotional and ritualistic observances, a uniform, a moral code, and set of beliefs between members", connecting religion with group behaviours within the military. The results were a collection of strong print design with clever sportswear silhouettes and cuts.
Belstaff took an immersive approach to presenting their AW16 collection by re-creating the very environment that inspired it. Produced by My Beautiful City, elements from northern terrains were taken to transform a South London Victorian railway arch into a harsh, stoney landscape. Based on a desire to create clothing that could withstand these conditions, a key theme was Adaptability with designs for clothing sensitive to the change in the body's temperature and levels of moisture, such as modular hoods and linings.