London Fashion Week presented by Clearplay returned to the capital from June 11 until Monday June 13.
The event marked the 10th anniversary of the June edition of London Fashion Week, which was initially launched as a menswear event, but during the pandemic was pivoted to a digital-physical programme showcasing both menswear and womenswear.
The event is more lowkey than London Fashion Week’s January and September shows, and focuses less on big-name, established designers, and more on up-and-coming talent.
Designers and organisations attending in June included Agnė Kuzmickaitė, AGR, Ahluwalia, Carlota Barrera, Labrum London, Qasimi, Yuzefi, Robyn Lynch, Scott Henshall, Tiger of Sweden, University of Westminster BA, and Ravensbourne University London.
Here are some highlights from the hybrid event:
A standout at the June edition of London Fashion Week was AGR, a brand founded in 2019 by London-based designer Alicia Robinson. The aptly named SS23 collection, ‘Dripping in Colour’, celebrates the label’s journey from handmade knits for Notting Hill Carnival to debuting at London Fashion Week.
Showcased at London’s iconic Fabric nightclub, the collection includes prints inspired by German artist Katharina Grosse’s fabric installations, mixed with references to 90s sandblasted jeans, glistening swimwear, and Sonia Rykiel’s iconic stripes.
The collection features recycled denim, metallic foiling on crochet, and tye-dye and knitted pointelle lycra techniques, while the bright colours were selected “with a clear intent to stimulate positive emotions and encourage mental wellbeing”.
Labrum London’s spring-summer 2023 ‘Freedom of Movement’ collection explores the idea of a borderless society and celebrates the merging of various cultures. The story is influenced by the heritage of the brand’s founder and creative director, Foday Dumbuya, who was born in Freetown, Sierra Leone, and was brought up in London.
The influence of mixing cultures and the blurring of borders can be seen in the collections' Mark Rothko-inspired colour palette - blues, greens and browns gradually blend together and are rarely broken up by harsh blocks - as well as the use of the Labrum London monogram, whose “placement of borders and the repetition of the print symbolises the idea of borders being placed around us, with the movement of immigrants going against them”.
Dublin-born menswear designer Robyn Lynch also showcased at the June edition of London Fashion Week. Lynch is known for diving into her father’s archive of clothes in search of inspiration, but for this collection takes an emotional look back at her mother’s former fashion items, finding inspiration in a t-shirt she brought back from a trip to Mallorca in 1983, with “neon smiley faces scattered generously throughout”.
Lynch takes inspiration from “the ugliest, funniest, most charming” souvenir t-shirts from all over the world, and reimagines them into elevated pieces. The collection features miniature crab embroideries on trousers and jersey pieces, and a towelling poncho - “a symbol of safety and warmth your mum used to force you to wear” - reimagined as an elevated piece of outerwear executed in two-toned bouclé.
Textiles include natural fibres and specially dyed nylons made out of Seaqual yarn, which is woven out of ocean waste. The summery colour palette consists of brick orange, charcoal brown, sand beige, and yellow mustard.
London-based ready-to-wear brand Yuzefi was founded by designer Naza Yousefi in 2016. Debuting at London Fashion Week in June, the brand showcased a Resort 2023 collection juxtaposing “beauty and imperfection”.
The collection features adjustable trousers and exaggerated silhouettes, as well as fluid bias cut dresses made from Japanese cupro, while translucent garments appear to float kinetically, “delicately reflecting light as if it were water”. Materials include feminine stretched satin, Gold Leather Working Group-standard leather, and other sustainable materials. Eighty percent of the collection is made from sustainable fabric or deadstock, according to the brand.
The collection's playful mix between relaxed and defiant is also reflected in the colour palette, with pieces reinterpreted in coral pink and contrasting red, and interspersed with natural creams and tonal browns.
Qasimi, under the creative direction of Hoor Al-Qasimi, the twin of late founder Sheikh Khalid Al Qasimi, showcased a spring-summer 2023 collection inspired by the Tuareg people, as well as the Saharawi and the Sahel regions.
The collection, presented as a digital film, combined “military threads, desert nomads, sartorial subversion, technology with a soul and the natural camouflage of mirage horizons”. The collection featured rope macramé inspired by pearl diving and seafaring communities in the Gulf, and military tropes such as US army combat uniforms, Swiss army work jackets, Swedish army popovers, and thermal zip necks.
Embellishments include Middle-East-inspired pearls draped over tailored jackets and adding “an oceanic texture to shirts that are otherwise structured in the collar and sleeve”.