People from the fashion world have congregated for that time of the year. London Fashion week has come to a head and it has started with a bang. At the top the bill designer Mark Fast. Known the world over for his knit wear garments, his runway show set a precedence for the rest of the week.
Richard Malone is outspoken on topics ranging from feminism to sustainability and reflects this in his fashion. This striking collection pays tribute to his late Grandmother, Nellie, and explores themes of grief, loss and legacy. The chaotic metalwork seen as belts, jewellery and hair accessories were handmade by Malone as a distraction from his loss. The intricate patterns visible beneath the sheer fabric of his dresses were
made from scraps of paper and old receipts from Malone and Nellie’s time together. Malone also used recycled fabrics for these pieces, making beauty out of the discarded. Making hope out of grief. Malone continues to represent his Irish working-class background in this collection. In a conversation with Nellie before she died, they discussed the idea of the working-class rebelling by ‘taking up space’. His impressive structural designs are extravagant and cannot be ignored. The tailored pieces are inspired by his surroundings, looking at what real people wear in the pubs of his hometown. Progressive, honest and deeply personal, Malone’s spring / summer 2020 collection depicts a refusal to be ignored and a confrontation with his own grief.
Underage are a brand that often focus on the creative take of Generation Z, and SS20 was no exception. The Underage Society was a spectacular youth rebellion on display. Ying Sheng (the designer) took strong inspiration from underground subcultures for the collection, portraying unorthodox, attention-grabbing pieces that encourage us to use our imagination. The collection had a refreshing and young feel, a story of youth challenging social norms, celebrating the body through the use of flowing, see-through material and sheer pants giving a glimpse of the body. The colour palette throughout the collection was minimal, neutral and cohesive throughout. Outfits were layered and some pieces featured dynamic prints and the contrast of flowing materials with sharper colours gave the garments a futuristic feel.
SS20 was the first collection that the fabulous designer Supriya Lele designed with herself in mind. She took into consideration her own wardrobe favourites and continued to explore her British-Indian dual heritage. Traditional saris were used but a more transparent version of, leather trousers and skin-tight dresses were also frequently used; in dyed black, peacock blue and yellow. Button-down shirts were also made lightly and paired with nylon bras, as well as low slung – sheer trousers which were complimented with delicate glass-beaded belts.
Tran Hung is a designer that follows his own creative muse, rather than fashion trends. His SS20 collection included garments that were all uniquely hand-woven with silk, celebrating the embroidery skills that the generations of skilled workers in his native country, Vietnam have developed. The collection encompassed particularly romantic elements of nature with elements of nationality and the result was a collection of delicate, translucent fabrics that highlight female curves in a sensual way.
Seven Continents is a collaboration between Jera Creative Agency and Fabusse, which celebrates and showcases influential designers. This year they celebrated two couture designers at LFW, firstly ‘In Couture by Kiwi’ a company that combines Turkish and International expertise. Their latest collection ‘Velvet’ is inspired by natural, confident, positive and feminine women, their brand represents beauty, elegance and fine workmanship. Their ultimate goal is to make the wearer feel good and make an extraordinary impression wherever she goes. ‘By Taher’ is the second brand, who presented their ‘Private Collection’ at LFW. A collection that is largely inspired by crystals and the decadent 1920’s era, referencing a luxury era of women dressing to impress. For this reason, their SS20 collection is designed with femininity at the forefront and the couture creations enhances a women’s body and personality.
Guests were greeted at the Phoebe English show at LFW with the opportunity to donate a tree to a company growing the newest largest native forest. This sums up the Phoebe English show and brand. Her collection for SS20 questioned ‘how does design evolved’ in the time of a fashion and climate emergency. Ocean plastic waste is up-cycled in her collection to create a slick nylon which she morphed into a jacket and shorts. Random bits of fabric are gelled together and dyed blue, and buttons are made of milk protein. Her dedication to up-cycling is outstandingly obvious in her work, including diagrams that direct pattern – cutters steps to ensure no fabric is wasted, and if it is, it will be used in the next collection. Phoebe English is leading the way in terms of sustainability.
Ashish presented a more relaxed collection at SS20, in comparison to previous collections by the designer. He presented more streetwear inspired looks, whilst still managed to keep the signature Ashish style. He challenges ideas of gender norms, by refusing concepts of masculinity and femininity, having male models wear half-chest sequinned tops. The collection is vibrant in colour and pattern, and although the pieces aren’t as daring as they have been before, we can still understand the strong motivation behind them.
Justin Thorton and Thea Bregazzi are known for providing a selection of books at every one of their shows, that dictate their influences for each collection. At SS20, they presented a book of Japanese manga series, a Lonely Planet’s guide to Japan and two films – Kill Bill vol.1 and Lost in Translation. They cleverly used the creative influences of Japanese culture in an appropriate way, focusing on their personal memories of travelling to Japan and experiencing the country the way they did. The designs were largely influenced by Japanese fashion, with no kimonos to be seen. The collection featured floral dresses exaggerated with ruffles and many designs used a sustainable viscose material.
Michael Halpern gave an elaborate yet subtle display of his SS20 collection at LFW. Classic and contemporary, the designs portrayed a reimagined femininity and a hint of Hollywood glam of decades before. Every piece was intricately designed with embroidered sequins and the skilful tailoring was clear. A spring-wear element was also felt through the exotic jewellery pieces and vibrant colour palettes of lime greens, magenta and gold. Low hanging chandeliers shone over the show, reflecting the embellished look of the show.
Three labels – Light & Shadow, Esa Liang and Punk Rave presented their collections as a joint show at LFW. This meant the show was filled with different moods, genres and styles that worked surprisingly well. First was Punk Rave who offered a series of wedding-style gowns with metallic accessories, wire frames, metal spines, metallic kneepads and shiny mouthpieces. Secondly was Light & Shadow which featured three emerging designer’s collections. The collections overall were full of movement and experimentation but each designers style stood out as distinctive and memorable. One featured different cuts of the same pattern, one was a water-inspired set and the last featured a compelling wearable dress. Finally, Esa Liang presented her collection, which showcased a variety of textures in the colours red, black and silver. The collection featured matte-black top hats, skirts with ruffles, glittery trousers and metallic coats.
Dilara Findikoglu is a controversial designer, and her spring/summer 2020 collection was no exception. This year she focused on consumption, taking a more sustainable approach, using environmentally friendly fabrics, with natural dyes and embroidery produced by local women in Turkey. The show was split into four chapters – Earth, Air, Fire, Water (suggesting a mass ritual of these elements would bring mother earth back to health) which was portrayed in the clothing through colours of these elements and metaphorical shapes. Models wore witch-like clothing, appearing quite ghostly and zombified, the collection has been called a ‘satanist orgy.’
House of Holland’s spring/summer 2020 collection brought an optimistic spirit to LFW. Combining the positive party vibes of the 70s with the rave culture of the 90s, models strutted down the runway in some outstanding dresses with detailed tailoring. The collection showcased a lot of dark denim, bright neon’s, pastel pinks, textured snake skin and animal print. Classic for House of Holland.
Adam Mickiewicz organises the ‘Wear Polish’ fashion show which promotes Polish fashion brands with a promise to the designers of immense foreign market growth. This year, in collaboration with Fashion Scout, Mickiewicz presented the three young polish designers, Acephala, Diligent and Pat Guzik. These designers have all been building and working on their own visual codes, whilst all accounting for sustainable development and social responsibility of the fashion industry.
Acephala is a conceptual brand with a feminist mission and sustainable approach. They are known for subverting traditional ideas of femininity through their designs, creating tailored pieces, experimenting with proportions and witty detailing. Acephala SS20 explores the relation between female body and space, meaning the clothing enables the wearer to become a part of their surroundings. They are flexible garments that also allow the wearer to blend in. The whole collection is produced with luxury fabrics and is composed of architectural and draped pieces with geometric designs, the bold experimentation throughout the collection creates witty and memorable designs.
Diligent is a collaborative brand between the young designers Szymon Mrózek and Marta Pospieszna. They cleverly experiment with colours and fabrics to create extravagant and luxury streetwear, for both men and women. Diligent SS20 launched the brands new UNIFORM line, a mix of ready-to-wear style with the typical avant-garde style of the brand. The collection shows a unique return to handcrafted clothing and exudes individualism and freedom. The earthy hues colour palette of the collection is interesting, which is split with slightly deeper and more expressive shades of lemon, willow green, emerald and turquoise. The collection also echoes a Victorian past with a modern future and contains a variety of handmade hats.
Pat Guzik collections are designed in accordance to sustainable fashion rules. The brand is based on strong values, responsibly sourced materials, local production, co-operation and transparency. Her collections uniquely take us into a world of imagination. Guziks SS20 involved a presentation of the ‘recycle-reuse-love’ collection, which is based on the reuse of materials secured from alternative sources, her clothing cuts have been designed to use the whole fabric and eliminate any waste.
Wen Pan, winner of the Fashion Scout Merit Award, presented her stunning SS20 collection at Victoria House for LFW. At the heart of the collection was the strong contrast of grunge and a more minimal, light palette. There was a particular strong emphasis and reflection on 1930s androgynous silhouettes whilst draping white and cream fabrics formed the basis of the collection. Each piece appeared to be thoughtfully designed with each supporting particular embellishments, the imperfections and minimalism of each perfectly fused roughness and delicacy to create a stunningly unique and modern collection.
Gayeon Lee, a designer from South Korea and graduate of Central Saint Martins, is known for drawing inspiration for her collections from fine art. Her SS20 collection at LFW was modern, feminine, luxurious and sophisticated. Lee showcased ten looks at a time, featuring particularly chic dressing and sleek silhouettes. The show was held in an unusual underground location, which combined with the background jazz music, created the perfect combination of a cosy yet classy show. The models were styled with a strong attention to detail and every look was created with an elegant straight finish.
Fashion Scouts ‘Ones to Watch’ provides a unique platform for the brightest new designers, with many going on to become established in the international fashion industry. This year the winners were AV, Gala Borovic, IA London and Studio Adaptive Skins.
Vincent Lapp (AV) is a fashion graduate from Central Saint Martins, whose collection was initially brought to light due to its statement against fanaticism and religious obscurantism. His SS20 collection continues on from his past collections, focusing on the place of the female body in religion, addressing how the body, hair and face of a women are often covered. This meant that parts of the model’s bodies were often covered on the catwalk, alongside some extravagant pieces with bold colours.
Gala Borovic is a Serbian designer whose brand symbolises an adult playground as a response to the emotionless fashion industry. Her SS20 collection includes bold and bright prints that were inspired by a space called ‘The Base’ a private art studio created in 2015 which represents a modern space escaped from reality. The space was developed by its members, and the traces they left there. Her SS20 pieces are delightfully colourful and creative.
IA London is a British Avant-Garde fashion brand founded by Ira Iceberg. Their SS20 collection was inspired by a Shakespeare tragedy, King Lear. The clothing included re-occurring images of sight and blindness, illustrating the themes of consciousness and self-awareness.
Studio Adaptive Skin is a textile architecture, founded by Jef Montes in 2018. They place a strong emphasis on responsive fabrics. For the SS20 collection we saw the past, present and future of the works created under Montes, which was inspired by ‘La Morenata’ the statue depicting Madonna and child.
Presented at the Waldorf Hilton for London Fashion week, Jamie Wei Huang presented a new collection for Spring/Summer20. Bright colours dominated the space; pink, reds and greens paraded down the runway with metallic accents within the accessories. 90’s fashion carried the collection with a chunky trainers and oversized sandals acting as a time stamp to the whole affair.
Marta Jakubowski’s work for London fashion week take the viewer back to summer. The Polish-born designer encapsulates the early 2000’s within her runway show, tapping into the nostalgia that is sort after by millennials crave.
Playful, conceptual, with a subtly erotic, feminist undertone. Many don’t recognise this side of Jakubowski in comparison to pervious runways shows. This collection looked to what came before and switched the idea of popularity within fashion which was interesting to see. Jakubowski showed herself to be versatile, a highly skilled patterned cutter that is able to use her precise nature to create something new each time.
Matty Bovan, usually known for his eccentric and flamboyant designs, has toned down his spring/summer this year. This the more subdued elements to this collection infuses, street wear with elements of sport/ tech wear. One could say that Bovan went as far as to add sci-fi touches. This came in the form of magnifying lenses, courtesy of Stephen Jones.
With long, lean silhouettes with loud, fluorescent colours , Bovan pushed the boat out as to the how to distort and contort his usual enables while still maintaining elements that make him an incredible designer.
Taking into consideration life in London, as well as his childhood, Eighties clubwear inspired the Central Saint Martains’ trained designer. Harping back to the classic shell suit, fishnet, miniskirts and mesh tops, the energy of the era was encapsulated within the show.
Florescent pinks and luminescent yellows, electric blues and lime greens flooded the catwalk; the colour combinations were palpable. The energy was only accentuated by the hard house soundtrack accompanying the fan fair displayed for the onlookers.
As is his tradition everything was knitted by hand and machine stitched, allowing him to play with the silhouette of his garments in accordance to his models, once again showing how he is able to push the boundaries of his capabilities.
LFWSS20 Design Renaissance Foundation
Hong Kong designers in the spotlight; this is the core, driving force for the Hong Kong- based non-profit organisation Design Renaissance Foundation (DRF). For the first time they have, together with London Fashion week, showcased their wealth of talent coming from the east.
The cosmopolitan, free flowing nature of the city allows for creativity to grow and thrive. DRF’s ethos has allowed for 20 young Hong Kong designers to have as platform at London Fashion week, in turn showing Hong Kong’s creativity coupled with their ingenuity.
With designs ranging from boxy oversized jackets coupled with flares while all based in muted subtle earth tones, highly patterned sheer material with a pastel pallet to stark black avant-garde attire, the range from designer to designer differed greatly, despite this worked within the same space.
LFWSS20 Bora Asku
A regular resident at London Fashion week, Bora Aksu’s collection hits the runway. ’02 Central Saint Martin’s graduate, the Turkish born- London based designer brings a sense of romanticism to the whole affair.
With largely feminine, elongated lines, Aksu’s collection this year can be described a s a triumph in design. The collection can be split into two distinctive areas. With one half of the collection playing with an extensive colour palette of pastel variations where the other played largely with white base with accents of red and navy.
In common, the core of the design lent itself to frills, ruffles and lace, very much lending itself to the prairie aesthetic which is very much in season.
Haute Couture took precedence as it always does in Aksu show, many of the designs could easily fit in with a ready to wear ensemble; sleek, elegant and simple.
Elegance, femininity with an occasional hard edge is what has kept Aksu as a resident on the London Fashion Week Schedule. Spring/summer Aksu has helped to set the pace, leaving one with more questions as to what is next for the designer.