London Collections: Men
Read on for ten reasons to get excited about menswear in 2013
It's London Collections: Men this week – like Fashion Week, only hairier, gruffer and all round manlier. As the be-suited and brogued descend on the capital, it's time to feel excited about menswear in 2013. Dan Jones explains why.
THE JOKERS: Agi and Sam
Monster-sized chickens, wonky wallpaper florals, a grinning Will Smith – Agi Mdumulla and Sam Cotton’s bespoke prints are the focus of their tailored menswear brand, Agi & Sam. Printed tees and a full ready-to-wear collection are in stores now, along with a special sock line with Japanese brand Tabio, and – in store for mid-April – an exclusive collection for Topman inspired by retro football kits and owl eggs (of course). The two young fashion brats are accused of injecting something rarely seen in menswear – a sense of humour. We say: guilty as charged.
THE NEW BOY: Craig Green
Londoner Craig Green is menswear’s latest pin-up boy, and this week at London Collections: Men he’s showing his new collection as part of MAN, the group show set up by fashion initiative Fashion East and Topman. Known for his hands-on, DIY-take on fashion, his fans include fashion writer Charlie Porter and fellow designer Christopher Shannon, for whom Craig created a series of Fraggle-like headpieces for Shannon’s recent show.
THE BIG NAMES: Richard Nicoll and Jonathan Saunders
London-based womenswear designers Richard Nicoll and Jonathan Saunders have downed petticoats and manned-up, adding menswear collections to their folios. Nicoll’s debut –sporty bombers, pinstripe suiting, denim jackets with contrast pockets – is in store now, as is Saunders’ collection inspired by David Bowie as the Thin White Duke (scoring him the Emerging Talent for Menswear award at last November’s British Fashion Awards). Both designers are showing this week.
THE MAIN EVENT: MAN
Want to know where British menswear is headed? Look to MAN, the group show designed to show-off three new menswear designers handpicked by a panel of fashion industry big names. It has a history of churning out successful designers, from James Long to Kanye West collaborator Katie Eary. This notoriety means the front row is always packed with the great and good of the international menswear set – the cacophony of competing aftershaves is quite something.
THE COLLABORATORS: YMC
Like a dog with fleas, London brand YMC likes to make friends. In the past few months it has collaborated with Parisian embroidery brand Maison Labiche, bearded Brit stylist and leather-fancier Peter Voss (who made them a collection of belts from his garden shed studio) – and this month it launches a mini-range of accessories, a collaboration with Liberty – 5-panel caps, sneakers and a backpack, all in a ditsy floral. You’ll find it at Liberty and YMC’s Soho store (11 Poland St, W1F 8QA) this Feb.
THE DIAMOND GEEZER: Kyle Hopkins
Central Saint Martin’s trained jeweller Kyle Hopkins’ work is a load of rubbish. Literally. Pen lids, ring-pulls, Kirby grips – all rendered in silver, gold and rose gold pendants, cuffs and chains – are Hopkins’ ode to everyday objects. His brilliant new collection, Nickel and a Nail, is dropping this month at Liberty.
THE BIG SHOP OPENINGS: J Crew and more...
This year sees the arrival of three mega brands that are setting up shop in the capital. A new standalone Jimmy Choo Men store is set to clip clop onto Mayfair’s Dover Street this spring, and this autumn, preppy US chain J Crew has acquired a site on Regent Street, and Tom Ford’s first ever high-gloss London standalone – for men and women – will fling open its doors on Sloane Square.
THE POP-UP: Ect Store
Sneaker freak Simon Coles deals in hyper-rare, new and pre-loved trainers, sourced from collectors across the world, via his secret HQ above a south London pub. Specialising in Nike and New Balance, his cult store, Etc – which Simon describes as ‘the UK’s first trainer consignment shop’ – is soon to settle into its first central London pop-up location. Watch this space.
THE EXCLUSIVE: Christopher Shannon satchel
London’s department stores fall over themselves to secure exclusives – special colourways and one-offs – that will get one over the competition. This month the winner is Selfridges with an eye-popping bright leather backpack from Christopher Shannon, a collaboration with the Cambridge Satchel Company. Inspired by tourist tat, black with a beige leather raffia-effect pocket, white buckles and tropical green fringing, it’s like strapping a cabana bar to your back.
THE HIGH STREET COLLECTION: Topman Design
Didn't quite make it to the front row this season? Topman are nothing if not democratic – inviting a few competition winners to their rather refined Topman Design show and, using all manner of technical jiggery-pokery, allowing their Facebook followers an exclusive 360-degree view of each look as it appeared on the catwalk. They'll be a preview of the new collection, in stores late summer, celebrating ‘80s Americana – from the art communities of NYC to the brash tie-dye surf styles of ‘80s west coast. The best bit? Zoom in to gawp at the 'fashion don'ts'.