By Erinna Ma
Fashion, at its best, has always been a compelling reflection of and commentary on its environment. Nowhere has this been more true than on London’s runways, which were a vessel for the political unrest and emotions felt after a turbulent year – more than a few designers nodded at Brexit as a source of inspiration. Disheveled fabrics and tough takes on streetwear infiltrated the catwalk, relieved only by the juxtaposing comfort of cozy knits and bright washes of colour. Combined, the London scene was an artistic expression of resistance, nostalgia and inclusiveness. These are a few of our favourite collections from the season:
Abley drew us back into childhood with his Power Rangers-inspired designs. Colourful cartoon graphics contrasted neutral tones, while lengthened straps lent a very martial arts-esque feel to the crime-fighting collection. Abley only upped his design game by constructing his outfits from comfortable materials (I mean, who doesn’t appreciate a stylish pair of sweats?). A very cool transition from the schoolyard to the streets.
Known for her unconventional designs that helped shape the punk rock movement, Vivienne Westwood returned with her trademark outspoken style this season. Outfits were politically charged with IOUs scrawled across belts and pants, unforgiving boxy suits spliced alongside raggy patchwork and swashes of blazing red to further aggravate each anarchic look. This was a demonstration of resistors against the powerful elite, stitched together to create a delightful sense of disruption.
JW Anderson described the overall look of his collection as being “lost in a womb of fashion”, which is exactly how we felt. Characterized by layers upon layers of oversized knits and slouchy fabrics, he created “a sort of defence mechanism”. Brightly crocheted patterns (which some observers thought resembled dozens of stacked iPhone apps) paired with Studio Ghibli-style landscapes evoked the kind of stylish comfort that would be perfect for any rainy weekend.
Shades of contemplative mauve and luxurious earth tones dressed Songzio’s runway, resulting in an overwhelming feeling of tranquility and unity. His trademark black suit, styled harmoniously with billowing fabrics and hand-painted patterns, once again demonstrated the South Korean designer’s ability to skillfully blend art with craft. With his sleek silhouettes and the subtle intricacies of his nature-inspired designs, Songzio’s collection is enough to make any quiet winter more elegant.
A shift in mood was exhibited since Liam Hodges’ SS17 collection, which was decorated with the phrase “I’m OK” across his pieces. This season, politically charged slogans nestled themselves within Hodges’ neon militia-like streetwear more powerfully than before. Jackets emblazoned with messages like “IDEOLOGY IS A MYTH” or “LOOKING FOR A VOCATION IN THE DECLINE OF CIVILISATION” were pervasive throughout the entire collection and given more punch with digital camo print. We totally dig this urban dystopia.