It’s raining (of course).
A typical British summer to kick off the new SS18 season and I’m traveling light with my new Master-Piece link waist bag that I decided to remove my portable umbrella from before leaving the house so it would appear less bulky. Fashion not function.
A hop, skip and a jump to the official BFC venue for the first show of the day. It’s TDT and my boy, Graeme is flexing his wares on the catwalk for the first time. I’m right on time and bump into the super SANE team who bump me from the 3rd row too 1st even though the place is getting full to capacity. Richard Biedul is being handsome getting snapped then when everyone finally takes their seats, doors close, lights on and the classical music vibes kick in. What follows over the next 8-minutes are 20 wearable looks (IKR? #LFWM), 2 of which are for the non-gender specific, aka women. The colour palette is khaki (got it right today in my Supreme BDU shirt), black, white and emergency orange mixed with PoW checks and industrial webbing straps. The Japanese made printed scarves add a touch of luxury and I make a mental note to order one from Graeme as soon as possible. There’s a press release that I struggle to read as I don’t have my glasses on but later learn the collection (titled “The Lies That Bind” – I managed to get that part) is inspired by policy, politics (it’s the day after voting), media, transparency, distortion and the works of Sigmund Freud’s nephew Edward L. Bernay; in particular his 1928 book “Propaganda”. That’s all fine and dandy, I just think the clothes look dope.
Next up is a lunch meeting with FITE Sales Manager Michelle Noel around the corner at Fernandez & Wells next to the Assouline book store overlooking the stunning Somerset House courtyard. I comment to Michelle that this is our version of the Louvre before asking the waiter 5 times if they have gluten free bread then ordering the chorizo and spilling some of that delicious meat oil down my shirt. We bump into friends Darren and Kashia on the way out and arrange to meet up for drinks later.
As I’m heading back to the venue for the BERTHOLD show I get called over to Graeme and David Hellqvist aka the Baron for a quick chat that makes me 10-mins late. I see my old friends (they’re not old) Nicky and Louise at Village Press and get bumped again to the frow. Michelle is in the house networking with buyers before it all begins again, this time to a deep house soundtrack that gets the energy up and a procession of black draped stealthy looks with flashes of yellow gold that transition into tricolour blocking (it’s summer). I do love a waist bag and being accessory oriented, this is my favourite piece from the line and I make another mental note to order one from Michelle as soon as possible. It’s always interesting to understand the reference points in design and when I studied fashion I would often get penalised by tutors for not showing sketch work and demonstrating background as I would invariably just jump to the end part with a visual idea already planned out in my head. Much like Graeme and all good designers, Raimund (Berthold) did his research, beginning this season with a collection of photographs of child soldiers across Sierra Leone, Uganda, Liberia and Nigeria. It’s far more engaging to the viewer if you understand the references and are able to form an association between the start and finish point as it often puts you into the creators mindset – in the same way as understanding the meaning of art and photography in a gallery environment. I’m not intellectualising fashion but in menswear, story telling is equally important as aesthetics. So unless you’re a 100-yr-old British brand that was on first name terms with Winston Churchill in the 1930s or work with blind artisans in a Parisian atelier that produce everything by hand; make what you do interesting.
On the way out I bump into (bumping happens a lot during Fashion Week) Nick Wooster. If he wasn’t so recognisable, I wouldn’t recognise him as his trademark hair is currently neatly shorn along with the absence of matching silver beard/moustache. However his trademark style is on point as ever in a jacket that I comment is like the John Richmond “Destroy’ one from the late 80s (it’s not btw). We discuss projects, the state of retail, travel schedules (his is ridiculous) and a good spot for lunch (around the corner again) as we’re rudely cut off and I’m forced to take a step back being in the way of 27 photographers all trying to get the best shot of Nick without some guy in a stained shirt messing things up.
It’s still early and it’s not raining, so it’s onto the Hoxton with Darren, Kashia, Michelle, Graeme and the Baron for one drink as I’ve just remembered I have a jiu jitsu class in a few hours. Even though I’m still the new guy and finding my way around grappling, I’m pretty sure that drinking before fighting is probably not the best idea in the world. Although it is a Friday night.