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Menswear Hits the Gym With Palmer//Harding for Spring ’15

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With the World Cup now in full swing, sport was on the mind as London Collections: Men kicked off on Sunday, not least for Matthew Harding and Levi Palmer of Palmer//Harding. The transatlantic duo showed an expanded menswear collection with an athletic twist—a fashion film starring Sam Oldham, one of Team GB’s 2012 Olympic gymnasts

phblog2“Well, we started going to the gym about nine weeks ago, and that’s kind of how it came about,” joked Harding, the English half of the couple, of a line that featured boxy shapes drawn from the functionality of vintage collegiate uniforms. Using Palmer//Harding’s now-signature white shirts as a jumping-off point, new colors and fabrics were introduced for Spring 2015, including a striking metallic leather on shirt collars that crumples and bends when crushed.

Another first for the pair was the introduction of print—a distinctive mélange of gray, brown, and turquoise. “We were looking a lot at urban surfaces and textures—when those really naff billboards start to wear away and you see the really worn background through that, like chipped foam,” the designers explained. “We wanted to take those raw, otherwise ugly elements and find some beauty in those aged elements of the city.”

The accompanying film featured Oldham, the 21-year-old gymnast who won bronze as part of Great Britain’s team at the 2012 Olympic Games, flexing his muscles alongside a look-alike model wearing the clothes themselves. “Menswear polarizes into either the street, sportswear side, or the dandy, and we’re neither, we’re somewhere in the middle,” said Harding.

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The designers stood guard in the pristine white shirts that have garnered fashionable fans on both sides of the Atlantic. “We wear a lot of our own shirts, of course, and we’re neither dandy nor sporty. But I do love how the gym switches your mind off. We’re very disciplined in our work, and it’s nice to apply that to something else in our lives, to turn your brain completely off—that’s such a rarity nowadays.”

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