As London Fashion Week draws to a close, we’re looking back on some of the shows you may have missed. The week began with a blow: Burberry and Victoria Beckham announced that they wouldn’t be showing their SS22 collections physically due to logistical constraints and restrictions, a sour lingering residue of the pandemic. As two huge names in both British and global fashion, this prompted questions on the trajectory of LFW. However, if anything, London fashion is known for its spontaneity and energy: much of which is channelled through emerging talent.
In seeming direct opposition to the possibility of restraint, the (relative) newcomers at London Fashion Week offered a rebuke of the last 18 months: showing maximalism, amplification and renouncing the very notion of ‘lockdown dressing’. In actual fact, LFW had nothing to worry about: these NEW GEN designers showed up and showed out.
A major hub for the week was in the newly created TikTok x BFC NEWGEN space on Orchard St, hosting a roster of NEWGEN talent and beneficiaries of BFC funding and mentoring. Check out our individual show reviews for a deep-dive into each of these designers. However, other designers operating outside of this space and, in some cases, the LFW schedule itself, also delivered.
Speaking of which, one of the most-anticipated designers of the week wasn’t on the official schedule, but nonetheless presented a compelling collection to the fashion and celebrity studded audience. Harris Reed, forging an incredible career path from Central Saint Martins graduate to dressing Iman at the Met Gala all in a little over a year, showed his collection at the Serpentine gallery in Hyde Park.
Preoccupied with inclusivity, Reed has crafted a strong personal brand in his short career, collaborating with the likes of MAC Cosmetics and Missoma, which form the backbone of their business model. As for the show, Reed delivered just ten looks, aptly, at 10pm. In striking monochrome, Reed presented sharp, chic tailoring alongside ruffled and laced wedding dresses – all sourced from Oxfam. They offered maximalism and minimalism in one collection, with the upcycled considerations of sustainability. The lucky few selected to view the collection in person were joined by Reed’s 425,000 followers, all bearing witness to their outsider genius.
Back in the TikTok x BFC space, London-based Labrum showed an authentic and personal collection at LFW. Known for possessing the ability to tell stories through their garments, Labrum aims to create work that embodies the modern members of the African diaspora, whilst looking back to the stories of those who came before them as well.
In the SS22 collection ‘The Sound of Movement’, Labrum celebrated the culture and style of the Caribbean and African people migrating to Britain in the 1970s, embodying the brand’s ‘designed by an immigrant’ signature. The collection was grounded in strong tailoring, hybridised with vibrant colours and tie-dyes. Elsewhere, flared sleeves and drop shoulders referenced African style silhouettes, and graphics by artist Yinka Ilori complimented the collection. The result? Effortlessly cool, culturally grounded designing that cemented Labrum as one of the most exciting new designers on the scene.
Flying in the face of everything pandemic-related, FEBEN created a euphoric, colourful collection to parody the lockdown dressing we have all been subjected to over the last few years. Another CSM grad, Feben has already created a buzz with her signature draping and bias cut dresses.
Her collection focused on community; visual inspiration stemming from her lockdown trips to the Afro-hair shop. Warped expressions across a pair of trousers came informed by the waves of hair extensions packs that would mount the wall. Notably too, Feben’s satin shirts, twisted tops and felted dresses came accompanied by a beaded bag made by artists in Ghana. After partnering with the BFC, the designer wanted to translate this collaboration into her working practices – “we have to uplift eachother”.
Aside from presenting at LFW this week, JORDANLUCA has also joined OnlyFans. In the context of his collection, this makes sense: he delivered a collection focused on the exploration of a zone where sexuality and self-destruction overlap. The seemingly opposing qualities, abrasive and tender, merge in the designer’s reimagining of Adam and Eve. Models wore mechanical flowers by artist Alexei Izmaylov, and posed with live snakes.
Threading together notions of play, power, desire and commercialism, JORDANLUCA’s fashion week offering was coupled with a post-show uncensored version, and ‘entirely uncensored version’ on OnlyFans. However, the collection was successful in its celebration of both the body and youthful exploration.