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London Menswear Swerves Off the Runway Into Culture, Craftsmanship and Wellness

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LONDON — Menswear will step into the spotlight later this week when the British Fashion Council unveils a new three-day showcase that looks beyond the runway to themes such as craftsmanship, culture and wellness.

The showcase, London Fashion Week June, will run from June 7 until June 9 featuring fashion shows and presentations, as well as trade and consumer events, meant to “ignite a cultural moment and showcase British menswear in all its breadth, depth and glory,” according to Caroline Rush, chief executive of the British Fashion Council.

Rush said the new three-day showcase, which is sponsored by the French wheat beer brand 1664 Blanc, is an opportunity to highlight and support myriad British menswear companies and to dispel a few myths about the sector, which is perceived by many as binary.

Qasimi’s spring 2024 collection.

Courtesy of Qasimi

“People think British fashion is either really young or Savile Row. We want to show how much there is in between. We want to highlight the tie-makers, milliners, shoemakers such as Grenson, and independent, direct-to-consumer brands including YMC, Maharishi and Oliver Spencer,” Rush said in an interview.

She added: “It’s about highlighting the city’s point of difference during men’s fashion month.”

While a few brands will be showing on the runway — namely Denzilpatrick, Charles Jeffrey Loverboy, and Qasimi — guests should not expect a full show lineup.

“This is a city of creativity and culture, and fashion is intertwined with that,” said Rush, adding the idea for a broader showcase was partly the result of the changes brought on by the pandemic.

Starting in 2012, a host of British menswear brands took center stage during a twice-yearly event known as London Collections: Men, which took place for the last time in January 2020. Craig Green got his start there, showing alongside brands ranging from Martine Rose, Edward Crutchley and A-Cold-Wall, to Richard James, Hackett and E. Tautz.

(Green plans to show his spring 2025 collection, separate from the LFW showcase, on June 5 at his east London studio).

Inside the new Richard James townhouse, just off Savile Row.

N P H WILLS

With the world in lockdown, on and off, between 2020 and 2022, those London menswear brands pivoted quickly. In the early days of COVID-19 they staged online presentations, while some would later join the London womenswear calendar in February and September. Others decamped to Pitti Uomo or to the larger show weeks in Milan and Paris.

But Rush and her team at the BFC still believed that London had a role to play on the international calendar, and were determined to give a voice to brands — especially the smaller, independent ones that don’t necessarily show on the runway.

She said the ambition for the new LFW June is to provide a platform for designer businesses and the different cultures and communities “that have made a rich and significant contribution to the British fashion industry.”

The weekend will feature a “40 for 40” schedule, with 40 activations hosted by British brands and designers, marking four decades of London Fashion Week. There will also be a retrospective installation showing the role the organization “plays globally at the intersection of culture.”

Labrum London Fall 2024 Ready-to-Wear Collection at London Fashion Week

Labrum London, fall 2024

Courtesy of Labrum London

The three-day event will kick off Friday with a curated program at London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts, with an exhibition, panel discussions, and events inspired by Black culture and centered around self-love; South Asian culture with focus on pattern, textile and craftsmanship; and queer culture, with a spotlight on young creative voices from the trans community.

On Saturday morning, Labrum London, a brand with West African roots, is hosting a Run Club with Adidas, while on Sunday, the BFC will take over the Groucho Club in Soho for a Sunday lunch, pub quiz and other events.

The weekend’s activities also include presentations by designers and brands including Claudia Wang and Harri, and panel discussions such as an introduction to Savile Row with the high-end streetwear brand Clothsurgeon, Gieves & Hawkes, Richard James, The London Academy of Bespoke and The Deck, the first women’s tailor at street level shop on Savile Row.

The Deck at 32 Savile Row.

The Deck is the first dedicated women’s tailor to open a shopfront on Savile Row.

Courtesy

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