Buyers, designers and the Drapers team braved plunging temperatures in the capital this week for the autumn 19 edition of London Fashion Week Men’s (LFWM), which settled into its new home in east London.
More than 40 brands and designers showcased their latest collections at the three-day event, which was held from 5-7 January and marks its 13th edition. Highlights included Craig Green, the three times winner of British Menswear Designer of Year at the British Fashion Council’s Fashion Awards, as well as rising stars A Cold Wall, Paria Farzaneh and Charles Jeffrey Loverboy.
Attendance at LFWM has taken somewhat of a hit in recent seasons, as some big-name brands have chosen to leave the menswear schedule, such as Burberry and JW Anderson, resulting in less of a draw for some international buyers and press.
However, a good number of influential buyers were spotted this season, from the likes of Matchesfashion and Dover Street Market, as well as international names such as America’s Bergdorf Goodman and Tokyo’s Gr8.
While one of London’s strengths, the eclecticism of this season’s schedule – with its varied mix of brand new, emerging and established designers covering the creative and commercial gamut of menswear – meant many buyers dipped in and out of the schedule rather than attending the full three days.
This season LFWM moved from its former location of 180 Strand in central London, where it had been held since June 2016, to a new home at the Old Truman Brewery in the east of the city.
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The Designer Showroom exhibition space was within this location, though it had shrunk this season. Catwalk shows held on Saturday and Sunday were also mostly centred around this new hub, before being more spread through the centre of the city on Monday.
The move to east London was welcomed, with buyers and brands praising the convenience of having multiple shows grouped together in one place.
“I much prefer the new show space to the Strand,” said Lee Goldup, menswear buyer at Browns. “It’s a better location, better layout, better atmosphere and more to do before and after shows.” He added: “There were definitely less buyers around, but it was still very busy.”
His standout shows included Craig Green, Paria Farzaneh, Liam Hodges, A Cold Wall, Edward Crutchley and Kiki Kostadinov.
“[The Old Truman Brewery] is a nice big space and it does make sense to hold the event in east London,” said designer Priya Ahluwalia, who won this year’s H&M Design Award and was showcasing her collection at LFWM’s Designer Showrooms.
“I’ve heard lots of people say that they’ve found this season easier to navigate than previous years and east London is home to lots of designers’ studios, so it is sensible to hold it here.”
Designer Saul Nash, who debuted on the schedule this season and was also showcasing his eponymous brand within the showroom, agreed: “I love the event being in east London and the feedback I’ve heard has been good. I’m from Hackney and spend a lot of time here [in east London], so it is great to be able to show in this part of the city.”
However, sales agent Darren Skey, founder of Nieuway Agency, argued that not enough buyers and visitors were lingering after catwalk shows in the new venue, meaning less were making their way around the Designer Showroom.
“The vibe of east London is great and it’s a much cooler location than in previous seasons, but it is still a bit fragmented,” he said. “People are coming to the catwalk shows here and then heading off again. It would be great to have some more headline names here [at the Old Truman Brewery], although we have seen buyers from Browns and [Parisian department store] Le Bon Marché.”