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Exclusive: UK menswear buyers pick London over Pitti

Attendees praise second edition of London Collections: Men as Pitti Uomo seeks to resolve date clash.

London Collections: Men appears to have won the clash of the menswear titans, after its first January event overlapped with established rival Pitti Uomo.

Buyers at the likes of Browns, Harrods and Selfridges described the London show as having “a real buzz” as well as offering strong commercial collections.

Although figures were not available from either show as Drapers went to press, anecdotal reports suggested an attendance rise for LCM’s second season, particularly from international buyers, who represented some 17 countries. Home buyers were also out in force. Mei Chung, menswear buyer at designer indie Browns, said LCM had “really maintained the buzz” of its first season, picking Meadham Kirchhoff, Agi & Sam and Richard Nicoll as favourites.

Harrods general merchandising manager of menswear Jason Broderick highlighted Vivienne Westwood, Richard James, Alexander McQueen and Mr Start as having “brilliant shows”.

Selfridges buyer for designer and contemporary menswear Reece Crisp said the return of Alexander McQueen from Milan was “a true sign that menswear in London is growing in stature”. Hunter Gather and Jonathan Saunders were his highlights. Stacey Smith, buyer at designer indie Matches, also picked out Jonathan Saunders, as well as Richard Nicoll and Rake.

But the success of LCM appeared to have come at the cost of attendance at Pitti - although organisers of the Florence show said it had opened “in line with last January”.

Browns has missed Pitti because of the clash with London. “I wanted to give our full support to LCM for the full three days - it was a tough decision, but I’ve arranged to see designers in Paris and Milan,” Chung explained.

Selfridges will send a team to Pitti, but Crisp said there had been an impact on what they would attend. “It’s a matter of taking a judgement and prioritising your schedule, which means unfortunately you may miss a few shows,” he said.

Harrods split its team in an effort to see as many shows as possible.

“The shows in Pitti and LCM are equally as important for our business so we will always show our support and attendance,” said Broderick.

And the logistical headache for buyers and press looks like being repeated next year. Lapo Cianchi, director of communications and special events at Pitti Immagine, organiser of Pitti Uomo, said: “For January 2014 we will have the same situation because Milan and Paris have not agreed to shift their events.

This is one more reason for London and Florence to talk to each other again.

“We hope we can find practical solutions to make this uncomfortable situation easier for buyers and press.”

Caroline Rush, chief executive of the British Fashion Council, said the decision to schedule LCM at the same time as Pitti had been made “to ensure our menswear designers had the opportunity to show to a global audience”.

She added: “We’ve seen some excellent collections over the past three days and the showcase has achieved national and international press coverage, with an overruling message that London is the home of menswear. We’ve received lots of positive feedback from those who have attended and as we saw in June we’re sure the success of the showcase will be reflected in the orders placed.”

Readers' comments (2)

  • Eric Musgrave

    I look forward to Drapers actually listing more than three London-based buying teams. Which other UK buyers of significance attended? I read the LCM statement, put out before the first day had started, that buyers from 17 international countries were going to be in attendance. I have yet to see any names given. Why not ask the brands who they saw, rather than the BFC press office?
    And why the surprise that "the logistical headache for buyers and press looks like being repeated next year"? There is no place for any event, whether it's in London, Lisbon, Los Angeles or anywhere else, before Pitti in January. Well done to the BFC for a very well-organised three days. Let's see how they can keep it up for. Fashion is a business and, as anyone sensible knows, you can't bank PR.

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  • I think maybe next time Drapers would do well to wait for actual attendance figures before making claims such as "But the success of LCM appeared to have come at the cost of attendance at Pitti"

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