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London Collections puts menswear ‘on the map’

Commercial looks impressed buyers at first London Collections: Men event, as BFC plans for next season.

UK buyers hailed the success of the first London Collections: Men (LCM) after designers brought commercial trends to the menswear catwalks.

The event attracted buyers from key UK department stores including Harrods, Harvey Nichols and Selfridges and premium indies such as Psyche, Sarah Coggles and GarmentQuarter. LCM also showed itself to be a serious event on the international calendar with overseas buyers visiting from New York’s Saks Fifth Avenue and Opening Ceremony, and Hong Kong’s Lane Crawford. 

Darren Skey, head of menswear buying at Harvey Nichols, said the collections successfully blended commercial trends with more conceptual elements and the event had created more excitement around a buoyant menswear market.

“Hopefully future events will be able to attract some of the bigger players to really put London on the map,” he said.

Although the retailer has not placed any orders yet, Skey said it would set up appointments. He added: “There were strong collections from Lou Dalton, Christopher Shannon, Oliver Spencer, Christopher Raeburn and Rake.”

Marigay McKee, chief merchant at Harrods, said it had already placed orders. “This was a good idea of Dylan’s [British Fashion Council Menswear Committee chairman Dylan Jones] and everyone has really pushed the boat out. It has put men’s fashion on the map.”

McKee singled out the Burberry and Dunhill exhibitions as standout events.

Designer Richard Nicoll, who showed on Sunday at the event, which ran from June 15-17, said: “The response has been fantastic and I think menswear will become a key part of our business based on the strength of this. We don’t have any orders yet but there were plenty of people coming to see the show.”

Luisa De Paula, buying and merchandising director at etailer, said she would look again at the Hackett collection.

However, others in the menswear industry said the event still had some way to go before it becomes as big as other dates in the show calendar.

Dave Shepherd, chief operating officer for trading at Arcadia Group, said: “It’s important to get a couple of big names on board to get the event established.”

John Reid, owner of Bristol indie GarmentQuarter, said it would take a few seasons for the event to become fully established in the buying calendar.

The British Fashion Council (BFC), which organised the event, said it “exceeded its expectations” and the BFC was already working on ideas to “develop and grow” the showcase.

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