London Fashion Week is famous for its clothes, but this year the talking points aren’t just about the clothes, but the political statements behind the clothes. In this blog, we’re going to look at some of the talking points from two of the more controversial shows from London Men’s Fashion Week 2018 and how they might affect future fashion thinking.
Vivienne Westwood has always been outspoken on political issues, having been a public supporter of the Labour Party, The Conservative Party and currently The Green Party. She didn’t disappoint this year, eschewing an actual show in favour of a short film instead. The film focused on her new clothes, Westwood herself and an EU flag. The second theme was war and her hatred of it. Her clothes have a definite anti-Brexit feel to them with models holding EU flags and wearing a pair of shoes that had a Union Flag on one and an EU flag on the other. Being a pioneer of gender-neutral clothing, her unisex styles were on show too.
The MAN initiative, started by Topman and Fashion East in 2005 has helped launch the careers of a multitude of emerging designers including Kin Jones, Aitor Throup, Wale Bonnar and more. This year they took the opportunity to show collections from Art School, Rottingdean Bazaar and Stefan Cooke. I read recently that “for men” should be regarded as one of the most toxic phrases around in the current climate (whether you agree with that or not) and this show certainly challenged male stereotypes and explored gender fluidity. With this exploration of non-binary gender identities and modern queerness came an unusual collection. The collection was full of genderless dresses, skirts, slips and catsuits, all worn by genderless models. This is breaking down the idea of fashion “for men.” The idea is supposed to be that as people’s ideas of gender change, clothing should reflect this. Perhaps genderless stores would result in men being more likely to wear what in the past has been the preserve of womenswear.