London Fashion Week is underway – but all too many gents are still in the dark about just what it is, who it’s for and how it affects the menswear ranges available from big British labels. So, in this quick guide we’ll delve into the weird (but often wonderful) world of the UK’s leading fashion spectacle!
So, what is London Fashion Week?
London Fashion Week (LFW, for short) is a bi-annual fashion extravaganza held in February and September of each year. The week’s made up of a whole series of glitzy invitation-only shows and ticketed events that take place at locations across the capital. LFW is actually one of the ‘big-four’ fashion weeks; it comes in the wake of New York Fashion Week, with Milan and Paris following hot on its heels.
Since designers love to stay ahead of the curve, the February show actually serves as a showcase for the styles the brands will introduce in autumn/winter. (Yes – that means that if you’re keen to steal a march on rival fashionistas during spring/summer 2019, then you should have been paying attention to the September 2018 event!)
That said, a recent trend has seen some savvy designers push collections out immediately after LFW – in a smart ploy to cash in on the frenzied publicity the week generates!
Do Us Men Get a Look In?
Well, yes – up to a point. As with the majority of fashion events, there tends to be a fair bit of gender inequality on display at LFW, but to give credit where credit’s due, the British Fashion Council (who put together the whole week) have created a separate event, dedicated to us gents, called London Fashion Week Men’s. (The prize for ‘best original event title’ went elsewhere!) As you might expect, this tends to be a slightly lower key affair, but January’s LFWM still saw a strong line up of shows, spread across three days.
Menswear also finds its way into the main LFW schedules – albeit intermixed with a lot of womenswear. That said, the traditional lines between menswear and womenswear are starting to look a little hazy... One of the most noticeable trends of LFWM 2019 was for androgynous fashions, wearable by either sex. In fact, some of the designers played on this theme by using female models to showcase their menswear – maybe a sign of things to come, as those at the edge of progressive thinking challenge the old gender boundaries.
What’s All This Got to Do With Me?
That’s a fair question – after all, the elitist world of haute couture can often seem far removed from the style choices we make on a day-to-day basis. Even so, events like LFW have a surprisingly powerful trickle-down effect on mainstream fashion.
Sure, you’ll find a fair share of eccentric looks that will never make it beyond the catwalk, but you’ll also find a range of more restrained, accessible fashions on display. Naturally, the tabloids tend to laser in on the downright bizarre, but trust us – every year some very valid new looks come out of LFW, and infiltrate the wardrobes of unsuspecting men right across Britain!