London Collections: Men!

With London Collections: Men arriving, we now have a showcase for the best in menswear design that London has to offer, fitting neatly into the menswear schedule dictated by Paris and Milan. Big names such as Paul Smith and Burberry in the line-up, and even some support brought in from across the pond by the likes of Tommy Hilfiger, promise to finally grant British menswear all the attention it deserves.

Astrid Andersen – A/W 2012

But London Collections: Men is not just an improvement compared to the off-schedule London Fashion Week Menswear Day in terms of timing. A long list of exhibitions and presentations, and not to forget a launch event hosted by HRH The Prince of Wales himself, will celebrate British tradition and unsurpassed quality, while young designers will get the chance to present their work to international press. That mix of experience, tradition, innovation and new ideas is what makes London stand out as a fashion capital.

By creating London Collections: Men, the British Fashion Council did not only intend to offer British fashion houses a bigger media platform for their menswear lines, but also to offer international and British press and buyers an ‘eclectic and exciting mix of designers.’ Long established businesses with decades of experience, such as London’s world famous Savile Row tailors, attract an audience that is above all interested in craftsmanship and well-made tailoring, giving up-and-coming labels the chance to prove that their work is of similarly astonishing quality. Likewise, emerging designers and fresh fashion graduates from London’s countless fashion schools draw the attention of those who look for new ideas and innovation, which they will just as well find in the collection of a traditional British brand.

Agi&Sam – A/W2012

Britain’s heritage brands and tailors managed to stay relevant over the decades and continue to do so because of their worldwide reputation and incomparable skills. But also by keeping up with younger brands and making use of all the modern marketing strategies. Long gone are the times of wood-panelled stores being a standard in Savile Row, these days Mayfair’s tailors outdo each other with most exciting window displays and some of them even launch ready-to-wear collections every season. Burberry, the epitome of a traditional British brand, has one of the most star-studded front rows in the industry at each and every show.

In a similar way, young and hopeful designers turn to experienced brands for inspiration and knowledge, one of the most well-known examples being Alexander McQueen. As one of the greatest innovators of the last couple of years, he learned his craft as an apprentice in Savile Row, cutting patterns and stitching together classic bespoke suits.

MAN, a joint initiative of Topman and Fashion East, supports the newest menswear labels in London and presents their work to the world. Designer Astrid Andersen, whose collection will be shown as part of the MAN showcase, finds some of the inspiration for her innovative sportswear-inspired pieces in the craftsmanship of traditional tailors. Similarly, design duo Agi&Sam, who will present their work alongside Astrid Andersen, make us of very traditional pattern cutting and tailoring techniques, but pair them with unconventional prints and textures, playing with tradition and new ideas.

There’s no doubt that London Collections: Men’s debut will catapult the new showcase into international spotlight, along with London’s menswear designers, making the ever growing market for men’s luxury apparel more accessible for them. London’s identity as a place where tradition and innovation are equally valued and complement each other will set it apart from the rest and leaves us excited to see what’s to come.

London Collections: Men will take place from June 14 to June 17.