18 Feb. 2010
LONDON TRADE SHOW REPORT: F/W 10-11
Since the departure of TBC, London’s trade show calendar for young fashion has been anything but heaving. Aiming to bring buyers back to the UK, Stitch (Feb. 14-15) and Label (Feb. 14-16), two new events focusing on unisex apparel and menswear respectively, debuted this season.
Launched at a fitting time when London’s menswear is making waves and rising to prominence with its very own dedicated day at London Fashion Week, Stitch premiered at the Victorian venue that is the Old Billingsgate Market in East London. At the time of our visit, on Monday afternoon, the event was quiet, but looking ahead, there’s no doubt that the show is a force to be reckoned with.
Presenting a well-edited line-up of brands, the show had a distinct high-fashion flavor with a slew of visionary talents out in force, including JW Anderson (one of London Fashion Week’s latest New Gen Men recipients), Colin Henderson, Carolyn Massey (another New Gen Men designer), Sydney-based label Three Over One, and the distinct new accessory line, Bagdad. Alongside these edgy talents sat more established contenders such as the cult brand Peter Jensen, Original Penguin, Farah, Bolongaro Trevor, Fenchurch, Nicholas Deakins and D.S. Dundee. As a collective body, this brand spectrum made for a well-rounded and consistent affair and it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the almighty Professor Louise Wilson, Course Director at Saint Martins College, helped to oversee the designer selection.
It will be interesting to see how Stitch develops, and it seems the concept is far from finalized. “We’re happy were we’re at, but we will continue to develop and extend the show. Although menswear will be at the core of the event, there’s nothing to say that we won’t consider bringing in womenswear in the future,” said Brian Duffy, founder and organizer of Stitch.
Meanwhile, Label, the latest initiative organized by the major womenswear show Pure, extended its young fashion repertoire beyond its womenswear section, Spirit. Label is branded a unisex show, and thus introduces its host show into the menswear arena. Located on the ground floor of the vast Olympia exhibition space, Label presented a little over 30 labels including Joystick Junkies, Monkee Genes, Bench, Junk Food, Paul Frank, True Religion swimwear, Redskins and Fornarina.
Vacant and its sister line Pretty Vacant were also part of the mix and generated particular interest from visitors with their spring collections available for short order. Designed by the company’s new designer, Emma Davidson, the collections encompassed everything from the sure-fire spring hit that is the Breton-inspired top to jumpsuits featuring a surprisingly palatable insect print and a selection of tees produced in collaborating with the cult rock snapper, Steve Emberton. Another label that drew in the crowds was the streety Nottingham-based label, Bantum, which served up items rife with quirky details and eye-popping prints. Overall, Label’s concept appeared a tad fragmented and a tighter brand mix would have given the formula clearer direction.
Rounding off the London trade show circuit, the long-standing show Margin (Feb. 14-15) presented its 18th edition this season. As ever, the event served up a good offering of start-up labels, and this edition saw a particular boost in accessory names, with Indice and jewelry label Lua Lua making their Margin debut. On the apparel front, Laundry Maid stood out for its carefully engineered chinos and jeans. Other noteworthy newcomers included the new denim line Hypnosis and the three womenswear labels, Hysteria Asteria, Queens of Sounds and Akira Mushi.
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