London Fashion Week's June editions acts as a quasi-testing platform for more prominent events, giving smaller designers a much-needed spotlight and democratising the industry with less of a focus on exclusive, in-person events.
If you’re into cutting-edge men’s fashion, London has just re-established itself as the place to be.
The menswear edition of London Fashion Week, which ended yesterday, showcased the next big thing in style, all while taking a more sustainable and diversity-focused approach to this now unmissable event.
While many of the shows were traditional, in-person runways and presentations, this June’s LFW was more hybrid than ever, streaming shows online at no cost and with no need for a ticket, democratising the often out-of-reach fashion industry like never before.
The way fashion is shown is ever-changing - see Versace’s show at last month's Cannes Film Festival, which offered fans the chance to immediately purchase the designs from the runway as just one example.
In London, the biggest fashion weeks typically take place in February and September - for autumn/winter and spring/summer collections respectively - the four-day mid-year event is acting as a test of new formats for future seasons, experimenting with the fusion of technology with culture through change and innovation in the industry.
LFW June is a far smaller affair, featuring just four designers on its official schedule, but it's an important event nonetheless, according to hosts the British Fashion Council (BFC) because of its ability to give access to brands that may not be able to put on a full catwalk show for a number of reasons.
The event originated as London Collections: Men in 2012 and rebranded as London Fashion Week Men’s in 2016, before becoming a more gender neutral showcase in 2020.
A showcase for smaller designers
Since its beginnings, industry insiders have praised the intimacy of the shows and their ability to both make the audience more relevant for emerging designers and allow smaller brands to avoid getting lost in the more packed schedules of the ‘main’ LFWs.
Speaking ahead of the London festivities, Caroline Rush, chief executive of the British Fashion Council, explained, “To forge a new path, LFW June will resemble a cultural program, consisting of dynamic events exploring the intersection of fashion, technology, creative communities, sustainability and diversity”.
As gender lines get increasingly blurred, the typical menswear shows have increasingly included gender neutral designs, focusing on androgynous and unisex looks as well as traditionally ‘male’ styles.
Featuring panels and cultural initiatives, LFW June also gives a platform to newly qualified fashion design graduates from the British capital and beyond, offering industry experts a chance to get to know some of the brightest rising stars of the future.
At Euronews Culture, we’re particularly excited for this summer’s style and LFW June has added to that - here are a few of our favourite looks and moments…
Founded by late designer Khalid Al Qasimi, the house of Qasimi carried on the mantel, presenting its chic ‘Rising’ collection, which featured silk printing and embroidery as well as a celebration of flou - or light and ethereal fabrics - alongside floaty layers juxtaposed with structured organic poplin.
SMR Days was founded in 2020 by industry veterans Adam Shapiro, Dan May and Gautam Rajani.
The label launched its latest menswear collection at LFW featuring warm-weather staples, using natural fabrics and artisanal techniques, including Indian bandhani tie-dye and kantha embroidery to traditional block printing - and embraced every colour of the rainbow, shying away from 'traditional' men's looks.
Fresh out of Westminster University’s BA course in Fashion Design, rising stars presented excellent looks including these tribal-inspired prints paired with 1970s cuts and subtle pastel tones.
Justin Cassin - who hails from Los Angeles but has a design style which could be mistaken for traditional British tailoring - returned to LFW with his eponymous brand’s Autumn/Winter 24 collection at The Vinyl Factory in trendy Soho.
Taking a new approach to classic shapes, Cassin playfully explores volume and structure in design, transforming typical silhouettes into more individual pieces full of personality.
Sagaboi was back at LFW with a show at the Museum of London Docklands. The fashion label, founded by Geoff K. Cooper, is linked to the Caribbean subculture ‘saga boy’, which surfaced in the 1930s as a form of masculine rebellion. Cooper draws inspiration from diverse Trinidadian heritage and the history and culture of the broader West Indies.
Featuring tongue-in-cheek slogan t-shirts and genderless designs, Sagaboi presented a collection with streetwear elements and pieces inspired by materials found in local fishing villages.
London met Los Angeles - again - at the Browns collaboration with LA-based Crenshaw Skate Club launch.
In an exclusive collection dubbed FARFETCH BEAT 009, skaters showed off the line of cut-and-sew apparel which was presented alongside four skate decks featuring the Skate Club’s signature motifs.
The collaboration’s aim was to embody a touch of London sensibilities while paying tribute to laidback Californian looks, with practical and relaxed pieces.
The BA Fashion course at Ravensbourne University in London is known for its ability to consistently produce highly employable graduates and some of their star students were able to show off their work at LFW. Adam Pun leant into cage-inspired designs, while other fledgling style superstars drew inspiration from sources ranging from nautical themes - like ropes and swimming caps - to birds of paradise and homewares.