London Fashion Week Men’s: a lighthouse for young designers

London Fashion Week Men’s entrance

Last Friday the London Fashion Week Men’s 2018 started, bringing in the most eminent names of the UK’s menswear industry. Ambassador of the event, David Beckham is ready to promote the British fashion industry around the world.

“Our menswear and the craftsmanship that goes into it is recognised around the world for being original and truly creative – from Savile Row tailoring to street-wear and everything in between,” Beckham told on Thursday. “We have it all, and weekends like this are really important for both international audiences but also for celebrating the incredible level of talent we have in the UK.”

Beckham said also: “I am looking forward to celebrating the British fashion industry this weekend – at an event to celebrate NewGen talent on Monday. I have met a few of the guys over the past couple of months and I am learning so much. It is just so energising, so I hope to use my position to shine a light on this talent to the international audience that come in for LFWM.”

Now in its sixth year, there has been speculation surrounding the future of the showcase after several big names to draw international buyers and press – including the award-winning JW Anderson and LVMH prize winner Grace Wales Bonner – have either opted to show in a different city or at a different time of year during the womenswear shows. Dylan Jones, editor-in-chief of GQ, is unperturbed and cites the “innate” wealth of UK talent rising through the ranks as the source of “constant regeneration”.

“I think that one of the most extraordinary things about Britain and about London is our ability to continually produce a constant array of very talented young fashion designers. It’s something that you really don’t see anywhere else,” says Jones, whose role as menswear chair of the BFC involves encouraging emerging designers all over the UK. “Take the Italian fashion industry for example. There are very talented fashion designers but very few under 50. If you look at London, it’s full of designers in their twenties and their thirties with an abundance of talent.”

One of the few under 50 in Italian fashion, however, is James Long, creative director of Milan-based fashion house Iceberg, who relocated the brand from the Italian city to stage the first show of the weekend on Friday night. For Long, an LFWM alumni who showed at the very first event in 2012 with his eponymous label, bringing his adopted brand to London was something of a homecoming.
James Long in his atelier in Milan

“This year I want to travel around lots of different countries with the collections and London was first after Milan, the brand’s hometown,” said Long, who returns to see former interns including Daniel W. Fletcher and Charles Jeffrey stage their own shows this weekend. “I love the creativity of London; the gang, the other designers. When you first go to another city like Milan, you are very on your own, it’s almost like a big security blanket to come home.” Speaking to the Guardian ahead of the show, Long said his plan to send his models straight off the catwalk on Friday night from the home of LFWM, 180 The Strand, on a parade towards Trafalgar Square, was a celebratory bid to bring his “really bright Italian clothes” to iconic hotspots of London.

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