When London comes around on the fashion month schedule, a worldwide audience of buyers are attracted for two defining reasons: diversity and emerging talent. The buying teams of global-leading retailers were spotted, from Selfridges, Browns and Liberty's to France's Printemps and the US' Opening Ceremony. Bursting at the seams with exciting young designers subverting boundaries, Britain’s capital is a cultural melting pot known for unapologetically experimental fashion. And SS20 didn’t disappoint.
Although now reduced to a sparse long weekend, LFWM June 2019 still had time for talent. Thom Scherdel, senior buyer at Browns, told ORDRE, "I thought Fashion East took a huge step forward. We saw evolution and maturity in those young designers. I think it was the strongest I’ve seen in some time,” he admitted.
“We saw evolution and maturity in those young designers. I think it was the strongest I’ve seen in some time.”
Although no surprise, emerging labels stole the spotlight. This season was host to intriguingly sinister runway performances from paria\ Farzaneh’s creepy clown clan, Mowalola’s bloody victims, Liam Hodges’ distorted faces and Art School’s glamorous zombie apocalypse - perhaps hinting to Britain's current political mood. Menswear specialist Scherdel highlights paria \Farzaneh as a Browns favourite: “The unique nature of her collection was stunning. She simultaneously innovates and remains constantly true to herself - all the while touching on the issues of our modern world and conflict within herself.”
Impressing crowds with dramatic shows and concepts is one thing, but actually selling is another. Global luxury powerhouse Alexander McQueen, (once a London-upstart) famously perfected this nuance now so sought after by buyers. Scherdel himself craves brands that “seamlessly pair creative concepts and commerciality.” As a last minute addition to the LFWM SS20 schedule, the late designer’s brand was an instant highlight. Creative director Sarah Burton crafted a cluster of awe-inspiring tailored pieces, incorporating elegant floral textiles to avant-garde cuts and lengths.
Bold prints stood out all weekend long, from forever-vibrant loverboy Charles Jeffrey to Bethany Williams’ safari vibes. Selfridges mens buying manager Jack Cassidy says, “It was a very colourful season, with an abundance of rich textures. And we saw a lot of leather.” There was an air of femininity with floral prints, flared silhouettes and variety of fabrics. Cassidy adds his insider-prediction, “I think we’ll be seeing a lot of Martine Rose’s clown print t-shirt.”
But the sturdy utility-wear trend is still going strong, with A-COLD-WALL * winning the BFC/GQ menswear fund for 2019 - Scherdel says, “I think Samuel Ross showed a well-rounded and multi-faceted collection with killer accessories; all aspects engrained with his brand’s now recognisable DNA.”
Menswear is seeing a lot more pockets, waterproof tracksuits and combats - alongside A-COLD-WALL * , Selfridges’ buyer Cassidy says Craig Green is also leading the way, “I never leave a show without dreaming of which jacket I need next season.” With 2020's range of outerwear, everyone might not be moaning about rainy British summers after all.