As is so often the case in fashion, it started with a photo. The Sibling design trio even said that the picture they used was one of the most powerful images they've ever begun with. The photo in question was from Derek Ridgers' 78-87 London Youth—a woman, perhaps called Jessica (the designers were unsure), equipped with a huge gothy mane. "It's emblematic of wanting to belong to something, and when you're young, your hair can be your armor," they said. Hair, together with that other teenage preoccupation—spots—thus became the mainstays of the collection. On skirts and tops, red and black hair were used to create weird, spidery, yet strangely wearable knits, while spots came in both leopard and fuzzy versions.
Cozette McCreery, Joe Bates, and Sid Bryan always take an inventive approach to Sibling's collections, and this time they lifted an old crochet technique from a vintage issue of Reader's Digest, then developed it with a spiral pattern and used it in a tracksuit so that it would fit into modern menswear. A pointy knitting technique looked like those spiky cyberpunk backpacks that were popular in the 1990s. The trio also introduced something they labeled "scarified denim" on coats, jackets, and trousers.
Punk and the legacy of Vivienne Westwood's 1970s were so overtly referenced that it must be considered an homage, not just in the knits—totes Johnny Rotten—but in the use of bones. (Let It Rock's "Perv" and "Rock" tops come to mind.) The bones and the hair gave the whole thing a primal feel: The young men on the runway were in some way uncivilized—a reflection of how we see society's youngsters, perhaps—and made you want to sum up the collection as "urban barbaric."
The question seemingly being asked was whether youth is radical or simply conformist—assured as young people are of their individuality, at the same time they're dependent on cliques and groups. The answer came at the end of the show. While most garments could be traced back to a particular subculture, the closing looks had their roots in one of the most extreme individuals London has ever known, Leigh Bowery. Sibling has referenced his pom-pom head outfit before, in its Spring 2013 collection, and this time it came in bright red raffia. It was almost a dare: You think you're individuals? Well, this is what you need to aspire to.