ShortList style director, Adrian Clark, predicts the 5 fledgling designers destined for future greatness at this season’s London Collections Men (Jan 8th to 11th).
* With thanks to Mercedes-Benz
Sebastiaan Pieter Groenen is the creative director and founder of eponymous London based menswear label, PIETER, established in 2013. PIETER’s clothing ranges from perfectly tailored trousers to cotton-knit tunics and examines the modern man’s uniform.
The pieces possess a curiosity, honed during Groenen’s time at the venerable Fantastic Man magazine, and a rigour, instilled by his experience at Jil Sander under the stewardship of Raf Simons. They are garments intended to make men think about their bodies. As the brand enters into its fifth season, with sponsorship under the British Fashion Council’s NewGen Men programme, as well as stockists in Asia, North America and Europe, PIETER continues to explore the subtle subversion of how men dress.
Grace Wales Bonner graduated from Central Saint Martins in 2014. Her graduate collection Afrique won the L’Oréal Professionnel Talent Award, her dissertation Black on Black achieved the Dean’s personal commendation. Wales Bonner debuted Ebonics A/W 15 with Fashion East at London Collections: Men to critical acclaim. After her first season, she was invited to the V&A’s prestigious Fashion in Motion programme.
Her work explores representations of black male sexuality and identity. Informed by broad research that encompasses critical theory, composition, literature, and historical sources, Wales Bonner attempts to explore the notion of luxury via a hybrid of European and African approaches. In 2015 Wales Bonner was awarded Emerging Menswear Designer at the British Fashion Awards. She also performed in the Serpentine Marathon curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist and realised the first two volumes of her bi-annual publication Everythings for Real with Ditto Press.
Wales Bonner designs contemporary menswear and womenswear to international stockists including Matches, LNCC, Joyce, SSense and 10 Corso Como.
Sarah Hellen’s menswear combines modern design with the rich legacy of traditional rural crafts, textiles and resources from her homeland of Wales. The aim of Sarah’s brand is to demonstrate the diversity of these age-old techniques and develop ideas in a contemporary and commercial style of menswear.
Sarah has met a collection of inspiring artisans and craftspeople working in Wales who have contributed towards research and worked collaboratively to make different elements across the two collections she has shown to date. These include willow basketry, bespoke copper metalwork, handmade Welsh slate buttons, hand knitting, silk painting, bespoke shoe making, quilting and embroidery.
Throughout the development of her menswear brand Sarah intends to focus on the involvement of local artisans across Wales and the UK to create new, exciting and contemporary garments and products with a real sense of history and tradition.
Sarah was identified by the NEWGEN Men sponsored by TOPMAN Panel and the British Fashion Council as ‘One to Watch’ at London Collections Men June 2015 and will be at the Emerging Designer Showrooms during LCM and Liberty Fairs Tradeshow New York with the 'UKTI Exporting is Great' showcase.
Originally from Kent, Liam Hodges graduated from the RCA, having left their heads ringing with prancing Morris men. Liam was eyeballed by Lulu Kennedy in advance of his (lauded) final show and put onto the Fashion East programme for SS14. As a brand Liam Hodges is interested in an expressive, polysyllabic masculinity. It's about creating a new-luxury brand that doesn't just cater to the high-borns. It's for people who live for the week, not the weekend - by which we mean men who don't drive volvos.
Liam Hodges presented his debut SS14 collection, fusing aspects of punk, hip-hop, guerrilla militias and balls out folk dancing for the Fashion East installations. Sticking with big, garish shapes and hard wearing workwear detailing communicated through a strong graphic language presented on signature oversized t-shirts and knitwear.
Hodges has won the support of titles including; AnOther Man, Dazed & Confused, i-D, Hunger, VICE, and Fucking Young! to name a few, and his designs have been worn by Drake. His eponymous line is available at PRIMITIVE London and GR8 in Tokyo.
Phoebe English Man
The first Phoebe English exploration into menswear debuted for spring 2016, with a refined capsule collection, aiming to translate the ethos of her eponymous and lauded womenswear line, with accessible, relaxed menswear created in natural fibers and entirely made in the UK.
With a focus on form, fabric and finishing, a strong look was established with wide-legged loose-fitting pants and all engulfing coats and jackets, punctuated with simpler pieces such as soft layered muslin collar-less t-shirts and easy shorts. A mindfulness of functionality over decoration runs throughout while using her signature finishes such as raw edges, functional ties and pieces without fastenings.
A graduated from Louise Wilson’s Central Saint Martins MA program in February 2011, winning the L'Oreal ‘Professional Creative Award’, the ‘Ungaro’ bursary and the ‘Chloe’ award. English had previously completed a 4 year BA degree at Central Saint Martins and had worked as an intern at John Galliano, Diane Von Furstenberg and for the couturier and corsetiere Mr. Pearl. The latter fundamentally affecting her outlook on design and the work ethos to come.
In 2015 Phoebe was selected by Forbes to be in their influential ’30 under 30’ list in the Art and Style category. English has also guest lectured at Central Saint Martins and the Condè Nast School of Fashion.