FUTURISM, GRUNGE & HERITAGE: A London Fashion Week Exploration


From humble beginnings back in October of 1983, London Fashion Week is the youngest of the “Big Four”, gaining a reputation for breaking stigmas, platforming emerging talent and disrupting the industry. The birthplace of punk, rock and roll and grunge, London Fashion Week continues to forge onwards with the same trailblazing spirit 40 years later. Kicking off on the 16th of February and concluding on the 20th, fashion enthusiasts and creatives alike were well and truly spoilt for choice. 

Subterranean Submersion: Entering the Aquatic World of Jack Irving

What defines one’s ability to pioneer the future of any industry, is a willingness to recognise and nurture forward thinking talent irregardless of how established they may or may not be. ON/OFF has been harnessing the fervour of emerging talent with their support programme since 2002. Collectively, they recognise that the key to fashion’s future lies in the delicate threads woven between art, design, and tech. At LFW this year, artist and designer Jack Irving pulled audiences down into a captivating aquatic realm. Irving’s collection of inflatable, wearable sculptures stems from the concept of a convergence between the ocean and remains of an abandoned power plant, resulting in the formation of a new, subterranean, alien species. It’s hard to look away from Irving’s magnificent, otherworldly sculptural work. A collection void of subtleties, every choice is marvellously bold and dramatic. Irving’s presentation broke down the wall between the digital and physical space by incorporating AI technology not only to create a fourth model projected upon a hologram wall, but to design the striking hairstyles seen on the physical models. ON/OFF’s director Lee Lapthorne extended his partnership with L’Oreal Professionnel by bringing hairdresser Jack Merrick-Thirlway on board to work with Jack Irving. Using AI technology, the pair designed each hair look digitally and subsequently made them a reality. Each hairstyle seamlessly defied gravity, mimicking the exaggerated nature of their accompanying look. It’s phygital fashion immersion at its finest, paving the way for future designers. 

Tokyo Streets & Grunge: JU-NNA 

A divine appreciation of heritage was spotlighted in London this year, reminding all of the power that resides in individuality and culture. In this particular case, it’s Japanese craftsmanship in the heart of London. JU-NNA is a luxurious celebration of Japanese heritage and contemporary ready-to-wear designs founded by Jun Nakamura in 2019. Driven by the value of authentic self expression, JU-NNA blurs the line between the commonly defined attributes of masculine and feminine attire. Nakamura draws inspiration from Japanese street photography that captures drunken, exhausted workers on the streets of Tokyo. Toying with the concept of an unbalanced work-life relationship, the JU-NNA AW24 Collection presented at LFW covers the disjunction between burn-out and professionalism. Everything about this collection has been meticulously considered from the lack of colour, collapsed shapes and scrunched fabric. Through fascinating technicality, workwear with a previously professional appearance fold and crumple into a more unkempt, grungy assembly. There’s an alluring sense of effortlessness conveyed through this collection. A palette cleanser from perfection with the ability to resonate with communities of workers all around the world experiencing a lifestyle similar to what was captured on the Tokyo streets.

Womanhood: Through the Eyes of Elisa Trombatore 

Designer Elisa Trombatore draws from her Sicilian heritage and relationship with womanhood in order to strike up a rebellion against stereotypes and conformity. Trombatore’s brand ‘DREAMING ELI’ presented at LFW with a FW24 Collection entitled, “The Dead Woman Talks Back”. Elements of traditional Victorian gothic design have been paired with modern shapes to allow the history of fashion to speak through a series of expertly woven fabrics. The feminine aura was palpable at the St Cyprian church, influenced by Victorian poet Christina Rossetti. A heavenly gathering of corsets, taut lace, platform heels, bunched fabric reminiscent of renaissance sculptures, boxy silhouettes and gothic makeup. A ghostly reminder that things must first die in order to be reborn again.


Across the board at London Fashion Week there was plenty to commemorate. LFW has long been an honoured supporter of emerging creatives through the NewGen program and relationships with the Fashion Scout and Global Fashion Collective. Included in the star-studded list were icons like Roksanda, who took inspiration from “film noir elegance” to create iconic beauty looks that graced the runway. Dewy skin, draped fabrics and explosions of colour and elegance attracted an international audience.  Simone Rocha, also on the agenda, presented a powerhouse collection inspired by Queen Victoria’s mourning dress entitled, “The Wake”. Against some of the more muted tones at LFW was a contrastingly bold showcase that paid homage to beloved opera singer Maria Callas. Erdem Moralioglu’s AW24 Collection, featured an extravagant green coat, caped dresses, feathered embellishments, a dramatic array of silhouettes and styles that portrayed Maria Callas’s style on and off the stage. 

Echoing throughout London this month was a recurring theme of sharp, contemporary, traditional tailoring, creating shapes designed to empower. Patchwork denim kept the Western fashion trend alive, and wide headbands, straps, hoods, wrinkled fabrics and drop waists were everywhere. In terms of colour palette, one shade in particular has made a dashing resurgence. It’s all about burgundy. The mother of all vampy, luxurious and seductive looks. As we bid our farewell to London, we turn our attention to the streets of Milan with a schedule of 161 physical and digital fashion shows, presentations and events. A week to surely not be missed. 


Written by Ashley Jade Callahan from GLITCH Magazine



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