Looking to London: Menswear Designers to Watch
London’s second men’s week is upon us (our coverage begins when the shows do, on January 7), and while the Brits are buzzing about Tom Ford’s and Alexander McQueen’s shows (both designers are new additions to the schedule), it is London’s ever-growing crop of young talent that makes the city tick. We checked in with some of the city’s most intriguing new menswear designers about what they have in store for the Fall ’13 season. And our picks have lofty aspirations. The general consensus was that each talent, in his own way, hopes his designs will contribute to a London menswear evolution—aesthetically, conceptually, and otherwise. “It’s the right time in fashion to take risks,” says spotlighted designer Craig Green. All four emerging talents are doing just that. Below, they tell us how.
Since launching his line with Fashion East last season, 26-year-old Central Saint Martins MA graduate Craig Green has struck an impressive balance between conceptual and wearable design. “Even with my sculptural pieces [like the wood and canvas frames he showed at the Saint Martins show last February], I place an importance on masculinity—although, I sometimes play with it in an androgynous way,” explains Green. Last season, the designer put forth a covetable and approachable collection that included screen-printed calico separates and rubber-dipped sweaters (left). For Fall ’13, Green earned a spot showing with the prestigious MAN initiative. “My inspiration is all about shadows and reflections, which is something I’ve played with a lot since the MA,” says Green. Featuring crinkle pleating and a toile-like simplicity, the cotton, felt, and suede wares include hand-painted prints and build on the ease of last season’s clothes. However, Green’s high-concept edge will come through in his presentation via a few dramatic, sculpted looks. “I think a show should be a show!” says Green of his penchant for grand fashion-week displays. (For his debut last season, he showed his collection alongside a full-on art installation.) “That’s what makes fashion so exciting.”
Craig Green is available in several specialty stores in Japan, including Kink and Cement, and will feature in the MAN show on January 7.
With an MA from the London College of Fashion, 24-year-old Joseph Turvey will show his second collection (his third, if you count his Grey Gardens-inspired graduate line) during Lulu Kennedy’s Fashion East Installations. With a focus on illustration (last season’s looks were printed with sketches of men wearing vibrant trompe l’oeil floral outfits), Turvey’s mesh and heavy lace Fall wares are inspired by his new jet-black cockapoo. (“She’s like a little teddy bear,” he coos.) Crafted in a muted, primarily black palette, Turvey’s collection (which, like last season, will feature illustration) aims to smash through the traditional menswear mold. “I find that menswear has a lot of rules, as far as tailoring, and I want to take what I’ve learned from [those rules] and break them,” he explains. As for the dog inspiration, Turvey asserts that Givenchy’s Rottweilers were not at the forefront of his mind. “These clothes are much softer and more friendly,” he says, adding that “fun” is a key element of his aesthetic. “I just want people to be happy when they see my work.”
Joseph Turvey is available in Japan at Candy and online at www.theunconventional.co.uk. He will show his menswear collection during the Fashion East Installations on January 7.
Thirty-one-year-old Matthew Miller will show his fifth collection in London this January. The NEWGEN-sponsored designer focuses on clean tailoring and complex digital prints (the fractured patterns seen on his smart suits and separates in seasons past have stemmed from such inspirations as things he found on the street and London’s Bauhaus council flats). “Everything I do has to have a meaning—every stitch and every line. Otherwise, it’s pointless,” says Miller. For Fall ’13, the designer was influenced by digitalism and his belief that his generation has failed to produce any revolutionary music or art. “I think they’re endangered species, really,” he explains. This notion prompted him to use crocodile-stamped leathers that reference an endangered breed of the reptile. Miller’s Fall ’13 will also feature black wool twill, cotton poplin, and high-tech polypropylene raincoats. “Everything is really simple,” says Miller. “I think I’ve come up with something relatable, that still questions what people believe and what people want to wear.”
Matthew Miller is available at www.mrporter.com and will show on Wednesday, January 9.
Maarten van der Horst
Thirty-year-old Central Saint Martins MA graduate Maarten van der Horst is best known for his three-season-old womenswear line full of vibrant prints, playful, feminine details, and slick silhouettes. But last season the Dutch designer decided to team up with Fashion East and test the waters in the menswear department with some heavy-metal-inspired T-shirts (think: Iron Maiden, Metallica, and Slayer). For Fall, van der Horst will continue with his metal menswear, this time concentrating on scarves. “I’m drawn to heavy-metal bands not because I like the music but because of their extreme cult followings. Achieving that kind of status is a goal for a young designer,” says van der Horst of his muses. The designer asserts that he’s exploring more facets of men’s ready-to-wear in his Fall range. But as for the scarf focus, he explains, “Every season I try to develop a specific concept. So if I have a really exciting idea for scarves, why not focus on that? I want to make objects of desire.”
Maarten van der Horst will show his menswear collection during the Fashion East Installations on January 7.