More For The Boys At London’s NewGen And Fashion East Men’s
Jo-Ann Furniss, editor in chief of Arena Homme+, reports from London fashion week’s MAN Day for Style.com.
The NewGen Men and Fashion East Men’s installations were, along with the menswear shows, one of the highlights of London fashion week’s MAN Day. At times, the whole thing felt like a drunken village fête—Jeanette’s shop-cum-speakeasy and milliner Nasir Mazhar’s liberal dishing out of rum and ginger beer contributed in no small way to this atmosphere—but it was nonetheless a considered fashion stage. For anybody who has gone to one of the industry’s deathly dull trade fairs, this mini spectacle made an extremely welcome change. Lulu Kennedy—the fairy godmother of Fashion East who is one of the main nurturers of young fashion talent in London—knows a thing or two about how to put an event like this together. The sense of a strong peer group with radically different voices was never more present than here.
Designer Katie Eary staged boxing matches in her installation (and these were installations, not mere market stalls) with an impeccably cast selection of teenage boxers from gyms in East London (pictured). “I was feeling quite angry,” said Eary. “And that came out in the collection. Well, fashion does get like that sometimes, doesn’t it?” These are clothes taking on the spirit of punk, with tartan and leopard-print boxing gear (she even made mitts to match).
Next door saw the somewhat quieter James Small collection, and this, too, had a debt to music. It was an impeccable capsule of festival wear filmed to the accompaniment of Roxy Music’s Ladytron—the delicate chiffon shirts in lilac leopard print and tiny florals are more likely to be worn on stage than off it. And Nasir Mazhar, a real rising star in his field, presented his signature box-peaked caps alongside so-called Muslim caps, flat caps, rasta hats, and berets. “I want the people I know to be wearing my hats. I don’t want what I do to be elitist and for a stereotypical fashion audience.” That, if anything, was the overall message of MAN Day this season: fashion for all.