It is that time of year again when the male peacocks and dandys flock together on the streets of London to celebrate London Fashion Week Men's (LFWM). The 12th edition of the bi-annual fashion showcase opens today, June 8, as some of the most creative and innovative names in the industry come together to present their work before heading off Pitti Uomo in Florence, Milan, and Paris.
Running until June 11, this edition of LFWM will showcase designs from more than 50 labels and retailers while welcoming visitors from over 45 countries. Since the British Fashion Council launched the first dedicated menswear fashion week in London in June 2012, more than 430 designer brands have taken part in over 750 catwalk shows, presentations, performances, and events.
London Fashion Week Men's SS19 opens in London, shining the light on young designers
While this season of LFWM aims to pay homage to the creative diversity that makes London unique, with Iceberg opening London Fashion Week Men's Spring/Summer 2019 edition with a catwalk show at the BFC Show Space on Friday evening, followed by a runway show from Daniel W. Fletcher Saturday morning, speculation regarding the future of the event continues.
LFWM has shrunk in size over years, shrinking from four full days to three days and an evening as its schedule thinned out following the absence of big-ticket names showing, ranging from Craig Green, JW Anderson, and Grace Wales Bonner. In order to help combat this, the BFC is shining its spotlight on a group of young upcoming designers, who are embracing genderless fashion, sustainable fabrics, and modern silhouettes.
For example, Charles Jeffrey, one of the BFC's most "promising design talents" and one of the nine finalists for the LVMH Prize, is set to show on schedule. His label, Charles Jeffrey Loverboy, is one of the main drivers behind the gender-neutral trend and has helped bring in more womenswear buyers to London Fashion Week Men's together with Edward Crutchley and Matthew Miller.
Christopher Raeburn is also set to return to show on schedule at LFWM SS19, presenting his latest sustainable collections for men and women on Sunday afternoon. Designer Bethany Williams will also showcase her new collection Breadline, which is 100 percent sustainable and developed through an exchange programme with Tesco and Vauxhall Food Bank, while VIN + OMI will be working together with the BFC, the London College of Fashion and the Deputy Mayor for Culture, Justine Simons on a new project to repurpose all-single use plastic from LFWM into sustainable fashion.
New York Fashion Week Men's to take the opening spot from London Fashion Week Men's next June
As more retailers and buyers pay attention to the young creativity and increased focus on sustainability at LFWM, more looked to London to establish the atmosphere of the season and act as a hotspot for trends. But this June may be one of the last times that London Fashion Week Men's kickoffs the men's fashion calendar, as changes to the fashion week calendar is set to see the Council of Fashion Designers of America move the dates of New York Fashion Week Men's to the first week of June next year, following its successful co-ed fashion week this past February.
"The July timing is problematic for a lot of brands," said Mark Beckham, Vice President of Marketing for the Council of Fashion Designers of America to WWD. "So this will be the last NYFW: Men’s in July." New York Fashion Week Men's will be timed to run a few days before the women's calendar next February, but the Spring/Summer 2020 season calendar will take place before London Fashion Week Men's in a move that could impact both US and UK designers alike.
While some American designers are happy to have the chance to open the season, which would offer them the chance to have an earlier influence on retailers and buyers, others are concerned as to how it may affect their current manufacturing schedules. "It’ll be virtually impossible for me to be ready with my spring collection in June," said Joseph Abboud to WWD on the change in schedule for NYFWM. "I’m not sure the market mindset is there for men’s then. We have to stop looking at self-aggrandizing moments. If we’re way off season, it won’t work."
Photo 1: Christopher Raeburn, LFWM AW18, courtesy of London Fashion Week Men's
Photo 2: Bobby Abley, LFWM AW18, courtesy of London Fashion Week Men's
Photo 3: Edward Crutchley, LFWM AW18, courtesy of London Fashion Week Men's
Photo 4: Charles Jeffrey, LFWM AW18, courtesy of London Fashion Week Men's