Best of: London Fashion Week Men’s Spring/Summer 2018

Design Lists Fashion Week

Believe it or not, men’s fashion week is back. Though it feels like only last week we were wrapping up our favorite collections from Paris Fashion Week Men’s in January, we’ve just returned from a four-day jaunt through some of the best shows at London Fashion Week Men’s—and we couldn’t wait to share them with you.

This time around, for Spring/Summer 2018, it was all about the younger labels, while bigger names were noticeably absent this season. Burberry has moved forward with a combined men’s and women’s show during women’s fashion week in September, while J.W. Anderson has opted to show his new collection at the Pitti Uomo men’s trade fair in Florence, Italy.

Although certainly quieter than in past seasons, London Fashion Week Men’s welcomed these emerging talents with open runways. Whether they were set up in East London studios or at the heart of London Fashion Week, 180 The Strand, this season’s shows spoke definitively for the future of British menswear, Daniel W. Fletcher’s celebration of British youth to Blood Brother’s analog escapism; here are the best collections from London Fashion Week Men’s Spring/Summer 2018.

1. Tourne De Transmission

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As the first show on the week’s schedule, Tourne de Transmission’s creative director Graeme Gaughan kicked off the Spring/Summer 2018 season with a collection inspired by “the lack of transparency within policy, politics and media,” and proved that fashion is never truly at its best except during times of war, turmoil and, perhaps, snap elections. Also the label’s first-ever runway show, this collection didn’t feel like the same Tourne we saw in January; this season, for one, tended to lean more toward the sartorial side of precision and fine tailoring. But, other than being more honed in, everything we love about this label was still there: Gaughan’s knack for varied layers and asymmetrical cuts, his sleek, skater-cool aesthetics, and his extraordinarily nonchalant ability to throw out surprise details without a single bit of fuss—like transparent panels on the backs of trench coats. This was, hands down, the best possible way to open a new season of shows.

2. Qasimi

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What sets designer Khalid Al’Qasimi apart from the others is his choice of color; rich, warm and subtly Middle Eastern, there were so many earthy hues—sage, pink sand, granite and sienna—that appeared throughout this finely honed collection of utilitarian details, lightweight outerwear and parachute fabrications. Inspired by the nomadic Bedouin people, and set against makeshift dunes of sand-colored parachute nylon, this season explored a new future where we weren’t constantly bombarded by new information and digital life; this well-developed line of saturated tones and practical shapes was as dystopian and it is luxurious.

3. Daniel W. Fletcher

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This time last year, on the sidewalk in front of 180 The Strand, Daniel W. Fletcher was staging a presentation-slash-protest to openly oppose Brexit; this season, he’s celebrating what it means to be young, male and British. Now in his fourth season, he and his eponymous label could have easily gone the politically fuelled Theresa-and-Trump route, but instead he presented a well-balanced line of classic British staples—like the Mackintosh, the field jacket, the trench—with a bit of Seventies P.E. class nostalgia, in the form of form-fitting wrestling singlets and extra-clingy Lycra/Spandex shorts no less. But don’t let that overshadow his well-honed color spectrum of acid yellow, blush pink, burgundy and a deep blue, or his perfect blend of retro-minimalism for a spring line polo shirts, sweatshirts and a particularly cool pair of hand-painted striped shorts—this, guys, was a no-brainer addition to the list.

4. Christopher Raeburn

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Christopher Raeburn is one of those designers who knows exactly what his brand ethos is; he’s constantly pushing himself forward with new innovations in sustainable design, while also teaming up with industry leaders to continue translating his mantra of “Remade, Reduce, Recycle” into seasonal showstoppers. This season, inspired by Slavomir Rawicz’s 1956 book The Long Walk and its tale of survival and adventure, Christopher Raeburn has teamed up with Italian company Exkite to create an all-weather line made from pre-flown kites, most notably including billowing Mackintoshes and lightweight bomber jackets. These looks contrasted perfectly with heavy-duty camouflage and light-as-air tulle netting that appeared as track tops, shorts, jackets and hoodies. Honestly, there’s so much relaxed beauty in this collection, it’s hard to even include it this write-up; just go take a long look through the collection and trust me, you’ll be glad you did—if not only for the cute jerboa print.

5. Blood Brother

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For spring, creative directors Nicholas Biela and James Waller decided to escape from our current reality (and its political leaders) and into a fantasy analog world filled with fast cars and a Big Brother-like company called “BBCORP.” And it was this that inspired the majority of their collection, with its Eighties and Nineties nostalgia, its “Plug In” prints and the blatantly honest shirt with bold black letters reading “SAVE ME.” Scattered throughout a room of vintage tech objects, Blood Brother’s spring collection brought back several of their signature easy-to-wear shapes and styles with updates that included a faux black crocodile jacket and the old Lamborghini Diablo ad prints. Spring/Summer 2018 was politically understated, perfectly wearable and the best collection they’ve ever presented.

6. Craig Green

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It’s easy to say Craig Green delivered one of his best shows—ever—this season. With its bold patterns and eye-catching prints, his spring-summer was filled head-to-toe in extra oomph; overall, a superb demonstration of why he was named last year’s British menswear designer of the year by the British Fashion Council. Throughout the show, which he held at an abandoned Victorian railway station, he presented kite-like contraptions, highly technical fabrics and sportswear look, including denim pants, worker-wear jackets and ribbed windbreakers, along a vibrant arrangement of color, prints of palm trees and sunbeams; over time, this collection become more of an illustrious paradise for the senses.

Brent Taalur Ramsey is an American writer living in Paris.

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