topman design kicks off lc:m with a trip to the seaside
This season Topman took us to the beach and on a tour through British fashion history.
Topman Design started London Collections: Men with a rollercoaster ride through British fashion's tribal affiliations and musical memories, refracting them through the sunshine and the seaside. There were obvious nods to the mods and rockers who tore up across Brighton and Margate on Bank Holidays in the past, and more oblique references to 80s casuals, early Ibizan ravers, Teddy Boys, and Pearly Kings in a show that was an eclectic mash-up of the best of the British.
In a season that's started with questions over the future of the menswear fashion week, as more and more brands bring together their mens and womenswear lines, Topman Design threw back through menswear's vital place in the cultural landscape. It was about fashion beyond the fashion industry -- born on the streets (or beaches in this case) -- and referencing the way fashion intersects with music to create tribal subcultural gangs (soundtracked here by Trevor Jackson, who crafted together The Last Shadow Puppets, The Streets, and Shy FX's junglist anthem "Original Nuttah" for the show).
The seaside was the place, though, with sweaters emblazoned with picture postcard homages to Margate, Torquay, Southend, The Isle of Wight, and Blackpool -- the models doused with sunkissed, sunburned faces and fresh-out-the-sea hair. The color palette was predominantly pastel, pearlescent pinks, dove greys, and light blues. Elsewhere, popping flashes of brightness and dark came in tracksuits and Teddy Boy cut suits, respectively.
It was a defiant, new take on British fashion's magpie-ing from other cultures, principally Italy, and the symbiotic relationship formed by soccer fans in the two countries -- English fans cherry picking Italian sportswear and reimagining it for British climates, and the beach-to-club wear of Ibiza. Here they were recrafted again, punched through with British iconography and motifs plucked from the seaside, kicking the summer off.
Text Felix Petty