Topman’s creative director talks to Emily Norval about the retailer’s fruitful relationship with London Collections: Men.
How does it feel to have seen the progress of London Collections: Men (LCM)?
I’m proud and excited by how well the whole event has been received and how, thanks to the British Fashion Council and LCM chair Dylan Jones’ focus, the event now has worldwide stature. It sprung from very humble yet ambitious beginnings, with Topman’s support of MAN through Fashion East and Lulu Kennedy, without whom the event we have now wouldn’t exist.
Topman champions emerging menswear designers through its MAN initiative - what do you look for?
We look for aspiring young designers who have a good balance of business acumen alongside the creative drive to succeed. Designers who are here for the duration.
What was your favourite collection this season at LCM?
It was good to witness the growing maturity of the young designers like Christopher Shannon and James Long, with other strong collections coming from a lot of the street/sportswear designers like Shaun Samson, Astrid Andersen, Katie Eary and Nasir Mazhar.
Topman Design is a separately designed collection that is wholesaled worldwide, so it earns its slot. I think we have to be careful going forward not to expand at too great a pace and lose sight of what’s made LCM great in the first place, which is an exciting mix of the best of British menswear.
How does the menswear market differ from the women’s?
Ten years ago I would have said they’re very different. Now there’s very little difference between young men’s and women’s shopping habits. Male shoppers are becoming more informed of trends and brands by way of the internet and their demands are every bit as informed now as women’s.
Are there any menswear trends you wish would disappear?
It will be interesting to watch the sport/street look that’s been pervading younger designers’ collections recently start to reach some sort of critical mass. That’s the moment we will start to see a shift in the whole skinny trouser silhouette.
And are there any you would like to see re-emerge?
I’d like to see a wider trouser coming back. The most recent Prada show is a good example of how it can look modern.
What is your vision for Topman in the future?
To stay at the forefront of what’s fashionable in all areas of the business. We owe it to our customers to have the very best fashion at the most affordable prices.