In the UK capital, fashion week pulsates with a certain off-beat rhythm that sets it apart from its European and North American counterparts. London fizzes with a certain streak of trailblazing freshness that arguably makes it different from the other fashion weeks that tend to be more traditional and steeped in certain traditions. In London, in recent years, the youth have become the actors and the script of fashion week is left open to interpretation and innovation. This year, the British brands rolled out in full force, dressing the city with new trends and ideas, and showcasing their highly anticipated work ahead of the 2024 season.
Daniel Lee’s Burberry Comes Under Controversy Whilst Blending With British Aesthetics
Fashion week is never without some eccentric and polemic PR stunt to litter our streets, and this time the controversy torch has fallen to historic London designer Burberry. The iconic brand chose to target the city’s underground transport system, as an atypical stage to imprint their brand image on. The roundels and signage inside Bond Street station were all temporarily edited to read Burberry Street, as the capital welcomed its annual fashion week. All signs were also changed to a deep knight blue, the colour adopted by CCO Daniel Lee as one of Burberry’s newest brand hues. Whilst a fun and stylised idea to get commuters talking, such edits can’t have been particularly friendly for tourists or newcomers to the city!
Meanwhile, Norman’s cafe, in the North London neighbourhood of Archway, also became imprinted with the iconography of Burberry. With a menu that provides a selection of British classics, with some playful twists, Burberry attempted to further align itself with a classical imagery of British culture and the great English breakfast. Yet, both stunts haven’t been without criticism, and Burberry has come under fire for trying to capitalize on working class culture whilst being a brand that is only accessible to the wealthiest sector of consumers. The show on Monday had similar undertones to these PR stunts, taking place in a rustic tent where guests were served ecclescakes to snack on. Whether or not Burberry are meddling with the concept of class, or appropriating certain elements of Britishness in an untasteful way, the brand was definitely a bubbling talking point of this year’s fashion week, and perhaps that was the marketing aim overall.
Simone Rocha Is Stripped Back for S/S24, Choosing To Use A Rehearsal Space and None Other Than Crocs
The Simone Rocha show this season was interestingly staged in the rehearsal space at the English National Ballet, a stark difference to her previous presentations at grand locations such asThe Old Bailey and The Central Hall Westminster, and a starkly unusual choice for a runway altogether when London is your oyster. This production was fashioned to be more bare and reduced, and the clothing collection that was displayed against the black stark walls of the studio mimicked this undertone. The central theme was the idea of the dress rehearsal, the activity that precedes the performance or the big day, and as such Rocha’s aesthetics were more muted, subdued and frankly casually wearable in comparison to previous editions. In many ways, Simone Rocha for SS24 resonated closer with the average person. Incorporating roses, pearls, and frills, the collection also played with the aesthetics of marriage in an almost subverting way; there was the aura of a celebration, but it was kept refined and tied back. The show notably, , even included a Rocha-ed version of a household favourite, the croc, which, having lay dormant for almost ten years, has gained back notoriety with a Gen-Z fan club, and now comically made its way onto London runway.
GLITCH’s Talent To Watch
Mithridate Hosts A Churchyard Garden Party For The Close of Summer
Welcoming attendees with ceramic cups of hot herbal tea and glasses of iced water, before inviting them into the round seating of the churchyard garden, truly set the tone for the whimsical presentation Mirthridate was about to unveil for Spring/Summer 2024. Named, “The Cure”, Zhang has cited her inspirations in horticulture, the traditions of Chinese Medicine, and the power of healing. As her models circled the verdant round, in sets of crochet and tulle, her signature body and hair accessories,, strung with bells and chimes, jingled a cathartic tune that transformed the churchyard into a melodic celebration. Made very “of the time” with the addition of bejeweled bucket hats and perspex heels, Zhang blended summery romantics and the air of a garden party, with the crisp coolness of blues and greens, metallics, statement jewels and edgy tailoring. Mithridate’s influence in the changing accessory game is one to watch, as Zhang’s display was particularly memorable for its addition of jewellery, belts, cuffs, earrings and hats which elevated some of her grungier, paint splattered looks into couture ensembles. An aura of floral elegance common to previous collections was continued throughout this display, as Zhang struck a perfect balance between edgy and beautiful for this fairytale-esque summer presentation.
Kazna Asker, The Young Designer Trying To Put Sheffield On The Fashion Map
Kazna Asker is one of the recipients of this year’s BFC NEWGEN Awards, and her presentation at this year’s LFW got GLITCH excited for what we can expect from this budding designer. Choosing not to yet debut any clothes or collections, Asker presented a video that instead introduced all parts of herself and her being to the fashion community. Titled “Fight for me, Sheffield” , her home-style video interviewed, her neighbors, her family, her peers, and her community, all rooted in Sheffield and glowing with a comradery that is unique to the city. The body of work evoked a wholesome and collaborative community energy that emanates out of the people and places that have shaped Kazna, and which she hopes to channel into her work. Invitees settled down on the floor, as Askna transported them to her gida’s living room, fit with the smell of burning bakhoor and cups full of spiced Adeni shahi tea. There was only a small glimpse into what Asker’s work might look like in physical cloth, as the room housed a handful of outerwear styles that combined aesthetic influences from her Yemeni background and her CSM Hijabi dress collection, with the trackstyle and streetstyle of 2023’s youth. We are eager to see the next step for Kazna Asker as a brand, but are also keen to see the imprint she leaves in diversifying the English fashion landscape. Her work tries to give a voice to a more northern fashion hub, birthed out of Sheffiled, and she is a frontrunner in broadening the fashion focus away from just the capital.
Patrick Mcdowell has always blended theatrics with his fashionable endeavors, and this year’s runway show, littered with the dark and romantic aesthetics of ballet, was another checkmate move in his journey to fuse the arts. His models took to the runway with thinly painted brows, morphing their faces into something that could be reminiscent of harlequins and clowns. His collection showcased ruffles and bows and capes, but also a take on a more modern version of a tutu skirt, attempting to replicate the refined silhouettes of ballerinas on the stage. The show was interrupted by gripping choreography from an ensemble of Rambert contemporary dancers, who raced along the runway, weaving in and around the models,and bringing a sense of narrative and pace to the story unfolding. Their involvement in fact highlighted the unnoticed plainness of all traditional runways that we see time and time again across fashion month. Instead, Patrick’s boundary breaking show ruptured the 4th wall, and let the audience sit amidst the chaos of dance as his creative cast told “A Tragedy of Fashion” through movement and cloth. The show ended with a certain alluring eeriness, as Mcdowell’s final model, enveloped in reels of grey and black tulle, entered the catwalk in an almost suffocating state, before attempting to scale the ballet bars and break free from the stage.The show closed with a certain sense of claustrophobia, and an emotive cover Blondie’s Heart of Glass, a Mcdowell left his audience decipher the meaning of his presentation. Plentiful in emotion and resonance, but somewhat codified and obscure when it comes to defining its purpose in words, we can only ascertain that the show was in many ways a poignant lament for the state fashion and the arts in our modern day.
Hector Maclean Debuts his Womenswear Collection
Maclean’s story is one of resilience and perseverance, as the ex-catwalk model, turned budding fashion designer launches on London to debut his first ever collection. Four years after suffering a life altering accident that left him questioning his future ability to walk, Maclean’s collections are strutting into the capital, the place of his accident, but the birthplace of his eagerly anticipated success in fashion. The incident in 2015 forced Maclean into an unwanted break from the world of designing, and a cut and dry split from the world of modeling altogether. This debut collection, that was initially funded in its preliminary stages by the compensation Maclean received after his fall, and the lawsuit filed against drama school Rada, has been under wraps until this Saturday when it was unleashed to industry professionals. “My designs are about empowering women to feel more beautiful than they ever have before” “I want them to feel like it’s the most perfect thing they’ve ever put on” – Maclean when interviewed by the Evening Standard. With its exaggerated silhouettes, and inventive draping and folding, the collection didn’t disappoint as onlookers applauded the young star for his fearless return to the industry he loves.
Skepta’s Brand Mains Makes A Comeback
After a brief hiatus, Skepta, the modern man spinning plates in both music and fashion, is breathing life back into his brand Mains for LFW. Originally an athleisure brand, the collection showcase became broader for SS24, and featured denims, jackets, shirts and more sophisticated structuring, perhaps reminiscent of how the brand is looking to make an authentic and competitive standing in the fashion industry this time round. Unsurprisingly, the Skepta stamp has attracted a huge following of buzzy and of-the-moment names to help boost the brand’s press standing – Louis Theroux, Stormzy, and Naomi Campbell all sat front row at the show this week. Although lacking in formal training, fashion-specific education, and industry experience, Skepta is certainly well positioned to understand consumers and the upcoming youth. Perhaps this is what will give Mains a unique edge as it seeks to become more developed in the fashion world.
Sagaboi Meets Etapes in A Colourful Cultural Collision
Between the hustle and bustle, Geoff Cooper and Elena Bezikovich, creative directors of Saaga Boi and Etape respectively, welcomed industry insiders to a quieter moment of stillness inside Bantof in Soho, fit with rosé sipping, brunch snacks, and the debut of the colorful bag collaboration. For London Fashion Week, both brands melded their culture-soaked aesthetics to create a range of hand painted accessories, bringing a dash to winter wardrobes as the colder days begin to unfurl. Cooper opened the brunch with a toast to the collaboration, and a toast to peace, as he explained the importance of the narratives of plight and suffering that frame the creative paths of both stand-alone brands. Whilst Cooper’s work has hinged itself on inspirations from the Windrush generation, and focused on an eclectic medley of Caribbean aesthetics, Bezikovich’s Ukranian heritage has also pulsated through her business endeavors more subtly, but wholeheartedly. Bezikovich didn’t shy away from the immediacy of war when speaking about her Ukrainian heritage, even sharing with attendees the tragic news that her hometown had been bombed yet again the very night before. Working in alliance with the UA team, an initiative protecting small emerging Ukrainian brands from the devastation of the invasion, the collaboration is a monumental step in platforming eastern designers to a London audience. The array zesty bags in deep greens, lemons and tangerine tones have a vivacity stamped into them from the Ukranian painters whov’e worked with love to decorate the leather skins. The collaboration also has a more affordable offering of printed pieces, that allow a broader range of consumers to join in on this fun-loving collab, and the mission statement behind it.
GLITCH were honoured to be able to attend a range of different shows and presentations across their home turf for this year’s London Fashion Week. As well as reporting on the industry rupturing news, our journalists were able to become immersed in the brewing underculture of new creativity that laces this city, accepting invitations to brands’ presentations both big and small. Amidst all the activity, we also launched our inaugural print edition, DNA, at the start of the LFW schedule, as we hope to capture and capitalize on the energy that is radiating from the capital in this fashion focused month of September. Keep updated with GLITCH as the focus now shifts too overseas to both Milan and Paris.
Written by Hebe Street from GLITCH Magazine