From deploying sustainable techniques to paying homage to their own cultures, designers at London Fashion Week’s Autumn/Winter 2020 this week made menswear more playful. Here are our takeaways from a roundup of shows
WALES BONNER’S RASTAFARIAN ROOTS
Grace Wales Bonner’s British and Afro-Caribbean heritage laid the foundation for her collection Lover’s Rock. She looked for historical perspective in the 1970s’ images of Afro-Caribbeans by photographer John Goto at the Lewisham youth centre, which used to host parties for the community and played a style of reggae music called “Lover’s Rock".
The collection, Bonner’s second collaboration with Adidas, is a modern reinterpretation of that proud nostalgia. Filled with trench coats, blazers, vests, trousers, tracksuits, knitwear, even kurtas, it is crafted from fabrics such as tweed, velvet and denim.
Rastafarian colours such as black, gold, red, green and brown are rendered in windowpane checks and dual-tone weaves
E TAUTZ’S EFFORTLESS FUNCTIONALITY
Patrick Grant, director at E. Tautz, has used repurposed shirting and denim fabrics—sourced from recycling company Astco—to create half the collection. His Savile Row-style tailoring has resulted in slick coats, jackets, trousers and blousons. Traditional patterns such as herringbone have been used in surprising ways.
The patchwork and darning techniques—executed by students from the Royal College of Needlework—make for distinct patterns, giving the clothes a structured yet relaxed look. The colour palette ranges from warm beiges to icy blues.
CRUTCHLEY’S GLOBAL COCKTAIL
From patterns and prints to textiles and techniques, Edward Crutchley borrows from around the world, resulting in a heady, glamorous cocktail.
Western formal suits, high-waisted trousers, denim jackets and shirts have been rendered in luxurious fabrics and prints such as Javanese batik to large checks and animal-print Lurex. He has also printed American artist Erik Jones’ nude paintings in fragments throughout the collection.
The idea of “more is more" might come to mind while imagining all these elements together, but Crutchley manages to pair them smartly, in muted colours and stunning accessories, bringing coherence to the chaos.
AHLUWALIA’S RENEWED SIXTIES
Going beyond fashion’s usual token nod to diversity, Priya Ahluwalia pays tribute to her Indian, Nigerian and UK roots through an eclectic use of contrasting colours, wavy patterns and patchwork.
Outerwear styles, such as puffer jackets, track pants and zipped sports shirts, have been paired with formal wear inspired by 1960s’ styles such as slinky suits and high-waisted trousers.
The patchwork elements—which use second-hand clothing, common in the cultures of Ahluwalia’s heritage—are in bright oranges and reds transposed with shades of blue.
ETHANY WILLIAMS’ IDEA OF COMMUNITY
The idea of community—especially those marginalized—is becoming an important tenet in the industry. This time, Williams, who works with waste materials from charities every season, partnered with the Magpie Project, an organization working with undocumented, homeless communities of women and children across the UK. Some of the profits from the collection will be donated to the charity.
From blankets and bedding to surplus fabric waste, including nylon and ribbon and even Adidas shoes, Williams has upcycled everything into a colourful collection that beams joy. Sportswear that consists of jackets, sweaters and trousers is the collection’s mainstay, tailored to be loose, boxy and baggy, with just a hint of femininity. Illustrations of mothers and children by the artist Melissa Kitty Jarram add emotive detail.