Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Return Of The Fake

FAKE London, the iconic British label that well and truly encapsulated the era of Cool Britannia is back with a bang for Autumn/Winter 10 after their three-year hiatus.

FAKE London has had a cult following like no other. In the height of the Brit Pop explosion of the 1990’s, celebrities such as Debbie Harry and The Rolling Stones were donning their threads, while fellow fashion designers such as John Galliano and Raf Simmons were also counted as firm fans of the brand.

This long legion of followers shall no doubt continue with the launch of the brand new premium collection straight in for Autumn/Winter 10. The collection includes trademark styles such as the soft-check Parka which has been revamped for a new generation; while FAKE’s signature British heritage iconography, from the Bulldog to the Union Jack, feature consistently throughout.

With a focus less on embellishment and more on key individual pieces, the collection incorporates classic silhouettes fused with sophisticated styles while still retaining touches of FAKE’s characteristic sartorial wit.

In this comeback collection, FAKE’s former fans will recognize the humor and attention to detail which is at the heart of the label; while newcomers will undoubtedly discover a true classic with a modern twist…

How was the brand initially established?
It started in London, as a bit of a hobby and as a bit of fun, just making things that we liked, experimenting with recycling and artistic ways of making garments; but nothing was really planned to work in the orthodox sense of a fashion label.

How has it evolved since its original incarnation?
Obviously it has become part of the fashion system, doing two collections a year and working with established producers, but the freshness and artistic spirit is still there. It has grown-up.

Who or what inspires you when it comes to designing the clothing?
As a rule, I try to design with “Britain in mind”.
The themes can be as far-fetched as possible, but always linked to something British. It is, in a way, a discipline that I follow so as not to get lost or too distracted by the myriad of things that are of interest to me.

Tell us about Damien Hirst’s connection with the brand and his role in the re-launch of the label.
I have known Damien for a long time. He has always been a fan and friend of the brand. He did a series of spin paintings featuring the FAKE London logo. Besides being a hugely talented artist, he is a very generous person and we thought that the re-launch of the brand was an excellent occasion to present them to the world (with his kind permission).

Why do you think the brand has gained such a cult following amongst the art and music scene?
I have always loved art, the art world and any creative discipline. Obviously if you are inspired by this, it will show in your work. People who are like-minded see this and luckily feel related to it.

Describe the typical FAKE London Man?
Clever, cool and with a great sense of humor…the ultimate catch!

What key items stand out from the new men’s collection?
I personally think that the camel hair crombie coat with lasered three lions on the back catches the spirit of FAKE very well.
It is a very classic gentleman’s item with a sports element and embellished with a modern technique. The cashmere wet suit jumpers, the tweed parka with technical lining and the perennial Union Jack cashmeres are high up there as well…

What sets FAKE London apart from other British labels of this generation?
Despite it’s name, it’s always about things that are real. It doesn’t imitate others, the references are not from trend magazines, but from solid traditions and understanding of the world that surrounds us. It has a real identity, a story to tell, and it shows respect for the wearer.
We think that our client is an intelligent, fun and discerning person.

What does the future hold for FAKE London?
We hope to make our old fans happy with our return to the world and to introduce the new ones to this very exciting world.
The rest is all written in the contents labels on the side seams….

FAKE London was founded by Desiree Mejer. She is now Creative Director while her Italian Partner, Italservices, are producing and distributing the premium line ready for the new season.


Monday, 27 September 2010

Comfort in Folds...

If last week's LFW taught us anything, stomping around the nation's capital in between shows can pay havoc on our feet. Luckily, the people over at Redfoot Shoes have created a clever design for the man on the go who would like to mix up their day's outfit by slipping into something that not only looks good, but is the the epitome of comfort. Available in seal black and chestnut brown, the Redfoot folding-shoes come complete with a neat, little bag allowing for expert space saving in your own day bag.

Omar Kashoura S/S11

At this season's FASHION EAST exhibition at LFW, Omar Kashoura unveiled his new collection "NEW Ease" with a little help from a brass jazz quintet, who donned his designs.

The collection, which pays homage to quintessential English tailoring, gives a modern twist on the 1940's war-time philosophy of "make do and mend". The result is a line of elegant garments where an abundance of hand-stitched details adorn salvaged cloth from previous collections, while over-dyed and ribbon patching have been utilised to rework past to future.

A modern reinterpretation of the masculine box shoulder silhouette feature throughout the collection as does a series of timeless additions to every man's wardrobe- single-breasted checked suits, classic crew neck tees and wide lapel suits- all re-imagined in luxurious materials and in soft muted palette.

Friday, 24 September 2010

James Long S/S 11

Synonymous for his inventive take on classics knits as well as a talent for producing some of the finest prints to hit the runway at LFW, James Long's new collection is testament to his incredible eye for detail. Signature looks included swirling impressionist prints and stylised paint splatters which were softened by lightweight knits and muted colours. Caramel mottled leather jackets were a key look within this collection, while tightly laced desert boots were the footwear of choice for the James Long man:

What is the design process behind this collection?
I always say that each collection kind of carries on from the last and as a designer, I'm always researching and picking stuff up. I went to Woodstock in New York and that inspired the whole desert feel to this collection. I remember there was this amazing guy there and he'd this great burn-out hippy look and from him to the guys coming into my studio to try things on, I'm always picking up inspiration. I worked a lot with the artist Ethan Cook on the prints for this collection and he was a regular visitor to my studio, which is very much an open place full of people I trust and together we continuously come up with new ideas for each collection.

Do you have any personal style icons?
Oh millions! I love David Bowie - he always seems to work his way back in. A lot of my heroes are from my era, so Kurt Cobain, Robert Mapplethorpe, I love Patti Smith.... Anyone can put clothes on, but I think it's more about wearing the clothes and having an attitude and knowing what you're talking about.

Your known for your knitwear, a material which is more closely related to A/W than S/S. Do you have any style tips for wearing it this upcoming season?
For heavier knits, just team them with lighter materials for a cool look, or just simply incorporate more jersey fabrics into your wardrobe.

Where do you see the future of men's fashion in this country?
When I first started at FASHION EAST, it was just crazy. There was just one show at the time and now there's so many. It's great because it's bringing the buyers in. I've done three NEWGEN shows now, so I don't really know where the support goes for me next, it's always just rolled on. But, with the BFC doing the showROOMS in Paris amongst other things, everyone is definitely behind the future of menswear.

Tim Soar S/S 11

With the 1970's trend out in full force this season, Tim Soar's new collection, "Mr. Newton" which showcased at Freemason's Hall was no exception. In a brilliant homage to David Bowie's character in The Man Who Fell To Earth, Soar's collection exuded a certain retro feel, reworked with slick contemporary stylings. As the man himself explains: "I became interested in strong, clashing primary colours. The fabric palette for this story is knit, welded PU, Tyvek and new and recycled denim. Tyvek, the wonder material of the 7o's, wears and ages in a way quite unlike any other fabric. I am generally anti-retro futurism - it is normally just long hand for kitsch. But this material seems modern in a way that is both 'now' and 'then'."

Along with structured 70's shapes courtesy of the wide lapels, long lines and high waisted designs, surprising touches added a playful edge to the collection. With a nautical theme featuring throughout, with wetsuit booties and life-jackets making the odd appearance; other stand out pieces included bold black and white garments which gave a certain sense of drama to the collection overall.

After all-access backstage antics with the boys and girls of Tim Soar, we spoke to the designer once the show concluded for an exclusive online interview:

A Journey With James Small

In amongst the bustling exhibition space of FASHION EAST at the height of Men's Day, emerging menswear designer, James Small, unveiled his latest collaborative project. "Journey" is a short film courtesy of Small and his friends, Tom Beard and Jamie Hince and was inspired by a summer love of travel and festivals. The film centres around four boys-each with entirely different personalities and contrasting looks. Shot on location in the Cotswolds and using Super 8 and digital cameras, the film possesses a certain vintage, dreamlike quality, yet retains a level of sharpness that pulls it back into a more contemporary arena.

The result is a visually stunning piece which not only is beautiful to watch but serves as the perfect medium to exhibit Small's clothing. A key item which was featured in the film is the exclusive W Insider belt which W Hotels Worldwide, American Express and W London commissioned Small to make.

What's your back-story in becoming a designer?
I went to London College of Fashion, where I did a degree in menswear for three years. Then when I graduated, I went to work for Kim Jones for about five, six years. Then after that I decided to set up my own label. That's pretty much it!

Tell me a bit more about the film? How did it first come about?
Well, basically I didn't want to do a runway collection. So I decided to get together with my friends Tom Beard and Jamie Hince and make a short film. Luckily I was able to do so through sponsorship from W who wanted a product that would go with my idea of traveling with the collection. Then obviously with the hotel, it all ties in with the traveling theme. So they commissioned me to make this belt, which is in the film and is a key part of the collection. For this season, there's a lot of florals and earthy colours, very hippy inspired- Sort of how you would dress on your way to a music festival.

So how much does music influence your designs?
Music has a huge impact on my designs. I naturally design A/W collections much more easily and am usually stumped when it comes to S/S. So this time around I thought, what does summer mean to me? And the answer is, to me, summer means music festivals

What music do you listen to?
I'm very much into rock, a lot of the oldies.

What festivals did you go to this summer?
Isle of Wight Festival, Bestival, Glastonbury.... Yeah I've been to quite a few!

Any plans for more films such as "Journey"?
Yeah I really enjoyed it- it's had such a great reception and it's a nice thing to have. You can put it online and it's really accessible for people. So I think it's a great thing do for summer and to then leave the shows for winter.

MAN S/S 11

Backstage At Man S/S 11

Martine Rose
It was back to Covent Garden's Royal Opera House for the MAN S/S 11 show, where backstage was a hive of activity. With cameras flashing as an excited buzz of chatter echoed from the ceilings, the models brandishing Martine Rose's eccentric designs lined-up in preparation for her LFW runway debut. Entitled "Cut and Paste", the energetic and adventurous collection is a bold collision of classic tailoring and sportswear influences.

Drawing heavily from a fusion of "90's punk nonchalance Vs Hip-Hop style from the same era", the collection is a vivid palette of kinetic colours while the designer's continued love affair with techinical fabrics are utilised to the max throughout. Stand out pieces from the collection were hats incorporated with retro CD covers and tough army style parkas which were given a luxurious makeover in creme brocade.

Having presented your collection in some form or another at LFW for the past five seasons, how does it feel to finally present your clothing on the runway?
Oh God, it feels amazing! It just feels so great to finally complete the story. I mean, I loved presenting and everything but after a few seasons of experimenting, it's so great to finally expand and to look at trousers for instance and say "This what I think they should look like..."
But yes, over all I loved it!

What's your design background? What led you to menswear?
Well I started off with another label with some friends of mine which was both womenswear and menswear. But whenever I'd design for women, it would just end up looking like menswear! So I think I'm just naturally drawn towards menswear-It's just something I feel comfortable with.

How important do you think initiatives such as the MAN show are for upcoming menswear designers? Do you think the British Fashion Council are on the right track or do you think it's about time London has its own Men's Week as opposed to just one day?
I think it would be great it we could have a men's week, of course and I really hope it happens in the future. But I do think it's great that we get this amazing opportunity with MAN, I think London is one of the few countries that actually do provide opportunities by supporting designers from grassroots level. I mean, it's an expensive business and it's impossible to put on a show by yourself. So with their support, it makes such a huge difference.

Overall, where do you think menswear is headed in the future?

That's a good question but it's something I think I'm probably not qualified enough to answer- So I can only speak on my own behalf. I know for myself and I guess for the guys who would wear my stuff, just to be brave, to have fun and to keep it honest with what they would normally wear.

Felipe Rojas Llanos
Closely following Martine's Rose's sterling showcase, was Felipe Rojas Llanos' troupe of models who took to the runway sporting designs from his brand new "Legion" collection. The sleek and sophistication line once again brought to the forefront this recent Central St Martin's graduate's penchant for sculptured silhouettes. The collection is collision of time eras with a futuristic blend inspired by The Legion Of Superheroes comic which is set in the 30th century, colliding with the schoolboy look of the 1960 British sci-fi film, The Village of the Damned. Think light, shiny fabrics in greys, whites and blues marriaged together to create tailored pieces of the upmost luxury. Overall the look is minimal and fresh, yet touches of rebellion from sheer semi-transparent t-shirts to dramatic, billowing gowns, add a certain edge to the collection.

You were born in Chile and raised in Sweden before moving to London. Have you lived anywhere less over the years? Has such cultural diversity impacted on your designs in any way?
I lived in Paris for a year, though I hated it! No, I do think there's definitely a cultural impact on my designs. Obviously Sweden has a very Nordic-Japansese design culture as I would like to call it, and it's influences such as this which play into my designs.

Do you think it's less or more difficult for a menswear designer to establish themselves in this country than it is for womenswear designers?
Definitely because womenswear is much wider. Though I think as with any product, it's all about your brand and your image- if you stand out, you will make it.

Do any iconic designers from the past inspire you in any way?
Yes, with every collection. With this one it was mainly Christian Dior and Yves Saint Laurent. But typically I'm inspired by designers from the 1950's and mainly by womenswear, especially regarding shape. With what we do, we like to have fun with it and to create something that's very wearable.

What are your style tips for men this upcoming season?
To have fun, to be experimental with fabrics, to embrace colours and above all, to be elegant.

New Power Studio
With a reputation for providing the unexpected, Thom Murphy's outing for New Power Studio S/S 11, did not disappoint. With a casual aesthetic based primarily of buttoned up shirts matched with slouchy tracksuit pants, the show began quite modestly before unleashing designs of a considerably more eccentric disposition. From models donning horns as necklaces, to jackets made of mop hair to an urban dance troupe draped in tissue paper scarves; le pièce de résistance of the collection was a rubber glove coat (complete with live child accessory) which closed the show, much to the crowd's amusement.

You started out as a stylist. Did you want to be a designer beforehand or was it just the next natural step to take?
I guess I always did want to be a designer to be truthful. I mean, I enjoyed styling -I did it for seven years- and I worked with some really good photographers and some really great magazine. But I really like the idea of product and how it can go anywhere unlike styling which exists only in the magazine. With product, you look at who is going to buy it and where it's going to go.

More and more designers are utilizing digital media, from Burberry streaming their show live to J.W. Anderson's shopping initiative with oki-ni. You yourself have released a number of promotional films. How important do you think this is in the fashion industry?

I think it's quite important. There has been a massive burst of this type of thing recently. Years ago, if you were to send someone a YouTube video, nobody would really look at it but now it's really normal for people to do this sort of thing all the time.

Tell me a bit about the background to your films, what's the inspiration behind them?
I worked with a director called Terry Hall, who I met and we did a sort of music video. Then the last one we did had very "Shopping Channel" theme. We started it as loads of fashion videos were being made and thought, how do we shoot the clothes in not an obvious sort of way? So that's where the "Shopping Channel" joke came from and where we got inspiration for all the cheesy sets and the whole "light entertainment" feel which we basically twisted. Everything is always lots of different things-thrown together.

Your designs are often touted as sportswear. Is this an accurate description? How would you define your style?
Well the boys that I normally use are quite sporty and I do use a lot of sportswear details, but in the last collection, there was definitely a lot more tailoring involved. But I do think it is sort of a feel. I grew up as a casual in the 80's and we used to wear sportswear then and we were sort of the first generation who wore sportswear as fashion. I think the clothing have less to do with actual sports now then in the past.

What are the plans for the future?
Now? Sleep! No, just to carry on really. At the moment I have a great team and I love working with them. I just want to continue going up and up, but at the same time, keep a level of consistency.