I’ve come across a lot of reverse snobbery in menswear recently.
While the pinnacle of the womenswear market is regarded as the catwalks of Milan, Paris, New York and London, those who show their menswear at the same level are regarded by some quarters with scepticism at the very least and at worst dismissed completely. Real brands and businesses exhibit their wares at trade shows, not on the “elitist” catwalk, apparently. “PR guff”, “luvvies” and “irrelevant” are words chucked about with abandon, and no time is this in sharper focus than right now, on the eve of London Collections: Men.
Despite maturing quicker than a caterpillar on Red Bull, LCM is by no means the finished trade article.
But nor should we expect it to be after only three seasons. Think where it was two years ago - an afterthought tagged onto the end of London Fashion Week, a mere flicker in the fashion calendar.
This season it’s grown to include new venues, bigger global brands and a renewed focus on the buying aspects of the event. Pitti Uomo, to which it is and forever will be compared due to the clash of dates, has had 40-odd years to perfect the art of the trade show, and wasn’t coming from a foundation of catwalk presentations as LCM has.
In a way it’s a testament to the work that has been done with LCM that it’s mentioned in the same breath as Pitti, but to disregard what the likes of Agi & Sam, Burberry Prorsum and Oliver Spencer will show in the coming days as “frivolous” is to do a disservice to the work those brands have done. Being sniffy towards high-end, creative menswear doesn’t do anyone any favours - after all, if brands create clothes that the industry and in turn the public want to buy, isn’t that the whole idea?