It’s that time of the year, when the British capital sets the stage for some of the most exciting fashion moments on and off the runway – or it should be. With Covid-19 still rearing its ugly head, London Fashion week has gone fully digital. All the better for us to witness some of the most exciting designers from the comfort of our homes.
Coming to you via Instagram Live, LFW kicked off yesterday, Friday 19, and runs until Tuesday 23 February. Not only is this a first-ever digital showcase but the event is also for the first time presenting as entirely genderless.
As the latest fashion capital to go digital, London is veritably showing us a fashion industry transformed by the pandemic. While its counterparts have offered us worlds of escapism, LFW tentatively reveals what a new normal might actually look like. And young emerging designers are at the forefront of this transformation.
Below we look at the most exciting showcases of London Fashion Week FW21. These are the ones to watch.
Fundamentally Saul Nash’s new collection, “Twist,” is about movement. Whether it’s reinvigorating sportswear to serve its true purpose or removing gendered expectations from its wearers. With clothes at service to the body and not the other way around, Nash meticulously advances the canon of sportswear and surely many will try to follow in his footsteps.
A dancer in his previous life, Saul Nash’s passage through Fashion East (an incubator for young talent in London that’s birthed Craig Green, JW Anderson, Simone Rocha, Kim Jones, Mowalola, and many more) launched him as a designer with a unique new vision of sportswear. As a dancer, he applies his knowledge of performance into purposeful pieces. Forget ornamentation, everything has a function. From quick-release zippers for bodies in action to mesh ventilation panels, detachable hoods, and use of extremely lightweight fabrics.
The vivid dynamism of this collection comes to life in the collection’s video, which shows the clothes in motion immaculately styled by Elgar Johnson with music by London’s CKTRL. “Twist is about movement in an everyday context, telling a story about the men who shape the way I dress. I wanted to look at preconceived assumptions about men of my generation, how we are perceived, and who we really are,” says Saul Nash.
Bethany Williams’ see-now-buy-now capsule is at the forefront of labels exploring sustainable alternatives to traditional fashion week. Williams’ brand has never been about pomp and pageantry, but rather poetic clothing which carries as much weight in impact as in design.
For FW21, the British Fashion Award-winning designer continues her collaboration with The Magpie Project a charity that supports women and children who are homeless or living in unstable accommodation. The nine-piece unisex coat collection, which goes on sale exclusively at
The coats vibrantly and cozily tell a story of shelter and better days. “The Women’s Institute community creates a personal blanket for every baby born into the Magpie Family,” Williams told the
After a brief hiatus, Rory Parnell Mooney, now simply Parnell Mooney, returned to the fashion calendar and he’s using the pandemic as a chance to look forward to going out again. So much so, that he’s presented the perfect uniform for a night beyond our doorstep.
“There’s an element in the collection about power dressing but also escapism and the idea of dressing up for a place that we currently can’t access like a party/office/nightclub, like even the ritual of getting dressed in work clothes feels strange, so I wanted to try to capture that feeling of confidence and sex appeal when someone has gotten ready and feels great about themselves,” he told
London’s gender-fluid fashion week feels like a welcome home for the Irish designer whose collection exudes unbridled self-love through a panoply of military-inspired khakis, fetish chaps, lacing, and leathers, as well as loud leopard and python prints. There’s a sculptural asymmetry in how pieces are layered and flirtiness in transparencies, or even a Tudor-like bare décolletage. These are clothes to make you feel excited about the ritualistic act of getting dressed up – and ultimately getting undressed at the end of the night.
Nicholas Daley has taken the digital format with ease. The Scottish-Jamaican designer presented a film to go with his spring/summer 2021 collection, Stepping Razor, which takes its name from Peter Tosh’s 1977 debut single.
“The film is actually in homage to Peter Tosh, the roots reggae legend and Martial Arts enthusiast,” Daley told the
The collection oozes with Black heritage and taps into the Black diaspora’s fascination with the world of cult kung-fu movies. The collection is captured on 16mm by Joe Ridout and features Jordan Thomas, former World and European Champion and Britain’s first Olympic karateka.
The collection itself is informed by the craftsmanship and thoughtfulness that has become a signature of Daley’s and look to the designer’s partnerships with local manufacturers for source material. “Community, culture, and craftsmanship are the three things that really define what I’m trying to say as an individual and as a designer,” Daley explained.