The fashion circle –
5 insiders on LFWM

We asked the models, the designers and the buyers about the real London Fashion Week Men's and what its future holds.

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Insider's guide to LFWM AW18

LFWM has once again come and gone, but what did this season’s models, designers and buyers – aka the people at the heart of the industry – think about the current offering and how this will play out this season? We asked a few to find out…

JAY HINES. Stylist & Creative Director
IG @jayhines_
Photography by David Nyanzi

Visual arts, dance & art history graduate Jay Hines “never wanted to be a fashionista” but has cultivated a stylist career that has gone from posting social media to catering to the likes of Burberry, Matches Fashion and Adidas not to mention Universal and Columbia records. Since ‘accidentally’ becoming an influencer, he’s utilised his dance background to inform his cinematic style and inevitably began to influence plenty of aspiring stylists through his creative direction and aesthetic expertise. With celebrity clients ranging from Raury to Samm Henshaw, it’s clear to see why Hines has first pick of this LFWM’s seasons’ trends.

Notion: What 3 words would you use to describe the men’s fashion industry today?
Jay Hines:
Growing, diverse, forever.

What did you think about this LFWM season?
I thought there were some wicked collections. Loved the Kent & Curwen’s art direction.

Who would you say are your current designers or brands to watch?
John Lawrence Sullivan & Wales Bonner have always been a fave but this season Tourne De Transmission & Bloodbrother have been th highlights of LFWM.

In what ways do you think the current LFWM system needs to change? Do you think men’s and women’s fashion weeks should always be showcased as separate entities?
I like it being separate. I feel womenswear has a special light they need to keep shining and so does menswear. Dylan Jones and the team have put a lot of effort into LFWM and I think that it’s forever growing. I’m also loving the development of menswear and I’m loving to see them play with masculinity within some designers.

Who would you consider to be a style icon right now?
Myself.

Do you think there are any visible trends from LFWM that you’ll incorporate into future styling?
No. I get inspiration from films, and directors like Quentin Tarantino, Ingmar Bergman & artists like Ray Ceaser. I love dark romance and how you can conjoin that and a few other elements into a creative piece.

Where do you get your style inspiration from? Do you get styling inspiration from runway shows or presentations?
Not really. I get style inspiration from the punk era and styling wise from whatever I’m researching. A lot of stylists just put clothes together without even knowing the context of the way they’re doing it. Or even dressing someone in a specific way without even understanding or knowing its original reference. I think it’s super key for a stylist and their growth to really understand style and its origins. Not a trend. Trends are dead, you’ll see them revived in the next 5 years.

Are there any designers that never seem to disappoint?
Gucci ever since Alessandro Michele has taken over. Even though he didn’t credit Dapper Dan for one of his pieces inspiration at first. I’ll allow him.

AARON LOPEZ, Model
@aaronlestalopez
Photograph for KTZ SS16, via Aaron Lopez

Scouted in London at a young age and now with over 30k Instagram followers, Aaron Lopez is a prime example of just how important today’s young models are to the fashion industry. Featuring in runways from Alexander McQueen and Givenchy to LFWM favourites KTZ and Blood Brother, and despite claiming to be “the ugly kid” in school Lopez has truly made a name for himself since the beginning of his modelling career. He promotes an eclectic sense of style, fusing streetwear with the best of high-end and utilising everything in between, making use of all today’s men’s fashion industry has to offer.

Notion: How would you describe the men’s fashion industry today?
Aaron Lopez: Always changing, diverse, wavey.

What is the best and worst thing about what you do?
The best thing is you meet so many people from all walks of life so some of my closest friends have been through modelling. The worst thing is when you have an agency that doesn’t work well for you.

Which LFWM designers have been your favourite to work for so far?
The favourite brands I have worked for include Alexander McQueen, Joshua Kane bespoke and Givenchy. Favourite designers are Joshua Kane who has a bespoke tailoring brand, and James and Nicholas @ Blood Brother, both designers are really good people and very talented.

Are there any LFWM designers you’d love to work with in future?
I would love to work with Gucci and Burberry.

Do you have a favourite designer piece from a shoot, if so what is it?
My favourite piece is from KTZ; I was given a jacket from the SS15 show and it’s one of a kind.

Who would you currently describe as a style icon?
My friend Richard Biedul. He’s a model.

What’s been your favourite show or presentation from this season’s LFWM?
Wan Hung’s presentation was really good this year, it was also a great cast from Andrew Davis.

How do you think the set-up of LFWM will change in future? Will it change at all?
I feel like a lot of big brands are not focusing on London (shows) as much. Hopefully they decide to start doing shows again. I think it will become a lot more integrated, I see just as many girls at men’s castings now so I’m hoping I can get a lot of castings at woman’s fashion week.

Name a trend you’re a particular fan of this season.
I love tailored trackpants. I wouldn’t say I necessarily follow current trends but I do love wearing oversized tees with tailored track pants.

NICK MENNELL, Assistant Buyer at Sefton Fashion
@nicholasmennell
Photography by Marc 

Assistant buyer at Sefton Fashion (which opened way back in 1999) Nick Mennell has been working for the brand for the past 3 years, a brand which aims to nurture young brands and designers by giving them a platform on which to showcase and promote their work. Sefton positions emerging designers alongside more established brands in order to bump up their street cred and so far, it’s been doing a pretty good job. London Fashion Week Men’s has always been a key event for independent retailers like Sefton and this season appears to be no exception.

What 3 words would you use to describe the men’s fashion industry today? 
Auspicious, transgressive, changing.

How did you enjoy this season of LFWM?
I always enjoy LFWM. There’s always a real buzz and the excitement is palpable. This year was no exception, regardless of heightened security measures and a slightly confusing new floor plan it was. It will continue to be one of the standout weekends of my year.

What, in your opinion, were the most impressive shows or presentations?
There was a slightly different schedule to recent seasons with some of the usually impressive shows such as Sibling and Casely-Hayford missing, but other new faces really stepped up to the plate. It’s hard not to be excited by shows like Bobby Abley & Liam Hodges who really personify LFWM and young London fashion as a whole. In the past few seasons I have been really impressed by the likes of Matthew Miller and John Lawrence Sullivan’s bold and aggressive approach to the shifting menswear climate whilst retaining identity and amassing a loyal following.


Do you have any brands or designers you’d consider to be ‘one to watch’?
There are masses of talent in London at the moment, and if they can keep heart and funding, then there could be some huge names coming out of the London and the U.K. in the next decade, however, times are tough. Edward Crutchley’s background, commitment and support from Ella [Dror] should see him go a long way.

How does LFWM affect business at Sefton?
Its place in the calendar is vital in evaluating swings in, trends, development of brands, networking with other stores globally and introducing more people to our brand and our store.

If you could change anything about the current system at LFWM what would it be?
As with anything you enjoy, it would be great to make it more inclusive to others. This is happening more with shows being live streamed at the event and online, collections being available to shop immediately following shows and new larger and more accommodating venues. As for combining the men’s and women’s events, I remember the days were menswear shows were combined with LFW and relegated to a slightly sombre day after a fun but slightly draining week of women’s shows. I’m not going to lie – I prefer it how it is these days but am always down for a shake-up.

Have you noticed any key trends from this past season and are there any pieces you have your eye on for the store?
Menswear and LFWM have for the past few years remained fairly casual with elements of sportswear still dominating the shows and the wardrobes of their attendees, but there was definitely a slightly smarter, sleeker aesthetic creeping back in. The skate and streetwear seems to be replaced with Scandinavian and Japanese shapes in fabrics which teeter on the edge of heritage. I’d love to see some of the wide leg dungarees that graced a few of the collections around for next season, Nigel Cabourn’s were, of course, a standout pair. Colour was also noticeably being used more boldly and confidently for SS18 than in recent seasons; the yellow and blue in Berthold’s show was particularly hard to forget.

Who would you consider to be a current style icon?
I can’t help but have a scroll through Luka Sabbat’s Instagram once in a while. A$AP Rocky also manages to do it for me most of the time.

What do you think the future of LFWM holds?
It’s honestly hard to say. Retail which is obviously the business of fashion on all levels has and is changing rapidly all the time and the way we shop will obviously change how designers approach their collections and how they introduce them to us. If designers like Gosha, who is this season again showing in a remote part of Russia with local models cast straight from the Soviet streets or Vetements’s Demna who has said he is pulling out of fashion shows indefinitely are anything to go by, the future is very much uncertain and the effect it will have on our fashion industry is yet to be seen..

DANIEL DESMARAIS, Model
@ddesms
Photography by Meg Phel.

London native Daniel Desmarais has grown his Instagram platform to a solid 27k followers since he began in 2015 and has since made a name for himself across the London model scene. Desmarais has worked alongside clients such as Alexander Wang and New Look Men, and aims to grow his name through countless appearances at Fashion Week and continually cultivating his unique sense of style.

Notion: What 3 words would you use to describe the men’s fashion industry today?
Daniel Desmarais: 
Clean, diverse and hype.

How did you get into the industry?
I was always into fashion from a young age, then I studied it and fell into modelling.

What is the best and worst thing about being a model?
The best thing is getting to work with so many cool and amazing people. The worst thing is that some people are treated badly and just get used.

Which LFWM designers have been your favourite to work for so far?
Weekday.

Are there any LFWM designers you’d love to work with in future?
I would really like to work with Tourne de Transmission, their products are amazing.

Do you have a favourite designer piece from a shoot, if so what is it?
I do! Probably my Raf Simons crew neck or the pieces from the Alexander Wang x Adidas collaboration.

Who would you describe as a style icon?
As of right now, one of the best in the game is easily Luka Sabbat.

What’s been your favourite show or presentation from this season’s LFWM?
I really loved the Blood Brother presentation, they always kill it.

How do you think the set-up of LFWM will change in future? Will it change at all? 
I think in the future both men’s and women’s will be much more involved together in the shows. And I also think that the show space should change, I much preferred it at Somerset House.

Name a trend you’re a particular fan of this season?
I love the tracksuit look that’s been done up, so paired with heels or Chelsea boots.

WALE ADEYEMIDesigner
@bsideldn
Photography by R. Cleveland A

British fashion designer Wale Adeyemi began curating his vision, an independently run brand and store, entitled B-side by Wale in 1995. The brand produces an eclectic mix of graphic printed clothing and accessories for both men and women and aims to pay tribute to London’s ever-growing arts and music scene through their heritage pieces and creative influences. Since the brand’s conception, celebrities such as Beyonce, Rihanna and Bruno Mars have been spotted in B-Side designs.

Notion Magazine: What 3 words would you use to describe the men’s fashion industry today?
Wale Adeyemi:
Evolving. Fast. Experimental.

How did you get into the fashion industry, was that always the intention?
I started with second-hand clothing taking it apart and I was amazed at the craftsmanship that went into constructing a garment once you removed the linings. Being a designer was never my intention. It was kind of like an affair that I never fell out of love with.

What did you think of this current LFWM season?
I visited a few shows. LCF had some good designers. Cutting skills were on point!

Do you think there needs to be any kind of change within the current LFWM system?
I think it’s a good idea of showing (men’s and women’s) together as you can see style-wise. It’s all switching up so it makes sense.

Have you ever considered showcasing B-side at LFWM?
Never shown. For me, I’ve been doing this for around 20 years and streetwear hasn’t always been showcased on this platform. I think things are changing rapidly which is cool. I’ve always been drawn to the mix of catwalk and street, that’s what inspires me, hence the strapline “somewhere between the kerb and the boutique.”

Which brands or designers would you currently consider to be personal favourites of yours?
Personal favourites of what I’ve seen are Martine Rose, A Cold Wall, Off White and LV.

Do you think that London is a good place for nurturing emerging designers?
Yes, I think London is a unique place.

Has it helped you to create your vision over the years?
Very much so! The music, the culture… I’ve travelled all over the world and am still yet to find a city more inspiring than London.

How do you think LFWM inspires designers such as yourself?
I think it inspires designers to see the possibilities of turning a dream into reality with hard work.

What does the future hold for B-Side?
B-side has always been about youth culture and the future. This will never change.

Want to catch up on LFWM? Take a look at our reports here.
Follow Navi Ahuwalia on Twitter

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