The menswear industry has thrown its weight behind proposed changes to London Collections Men (LCM) to align the event with designers’ changing strategies.
LCM said earlier this month that it would relaunch as London Fashion Week Men’s next season and become more consumer focused.
Chairman Dylan Jones said the decision reflected the recent shift in the fashion week schedule, as designers such as Burberry, Tom Ford and Tommy Hilfiger choose to show current season product that is available to buy immediately.
Despite fears that Burberry’s decision in February to withdraw from the men’s event, and showcase its men’s and women’s wear collections together at London Fashion Week could spark other brands to follow suit, the menswear industry was adamant that the future of the show remained strong and intact.
“For me, one of the strengths of LCM has always been the support of emerging designers and providing a platform to help them present their vision to the world,” said Terry Betts, head of business development at personal stylist site Thread and former buying director of menswear at Selfridges.
“I think any event which showcases extraordinary young talent such as Grace Wales Bonner, JW Anderson and Matthew Miller has already shown us what the future of men’s shows looks like,” he added.
Kevin Stone, owner of Stone Agencies, said the men’s event still attracted in the most significant players in the industry: “If you look at the buyers that go, all of the most important stores went to London Collections this season – it’s still super-relevant. Womenswear is six or seven times bigger than men’s, so it’s always going to dominate, but menswear is stronger than ever.”
However, one sales and marketing executive at a tailoring brand said he understood the name change as it “aligns the two events”, but added that he was wary of any prospect of combining men’s and women’s shows: “It would dilute menswear. Men’s needs to carve out its own niche.”
Concerns were also raised over the potential impact of heavyweight brands such as Burberry pulling out of the schedule.
“LCM has been great from a press perspective as it has generated quite a lot of media attention and has put London on the global map of menswear,” said the owner of a premium menswear independent in London. “So in that regard, it’s a shame to see fewer big brands participating.”