To paraphrase London's pattern-clash-loving designer Louise Gray (or really her mum, who advised: "Everything matches if you like it"), the global genderquake in fashion and youth culture is proving that all fashion is unisex if you like it. Androgyny has long been a touchstone for those pushing an ‘edgy’ aesthetic, but in 2018 the fashion designers picking up this thread are doing it more authentically than ever.
Take ART SCHOOL, the creative partnership of Central Saint Martins graduates Eden Loweth and Tom Barratt. Responding to the needs and desires of their friends and muses – who inhabit their bodies across the spectrum of gender (or, indeed, outside of it) – the duo create slick tailoring and evening gowns for a wide variety of body types and gender presentations, always casting non-professional models (mostly their friends) of differing shapes, sizes, ages, ethnicities and identities. This season their catwalk featured model and activist Munroe Bergdorf, DJ and London fashion legend Princess Julia, artist Josephine Jones, and designer-turned-model Tom Barratt (wearing a black miniskirt, feathered heels, and strips of pink tape printed with ‘Fashion East’, the name of the talent incubator behind the MAN group show).
Aside from the unisex (or gender-free, or indeed ‘multi-gendered’) fashion on show during London Fashion Week Men’s (LFWM), there is also a lot of womenswear. With the traditional fashion seasons falling apart due to the emergence of see-now, buy-now collections, alternate weather seasons around the globe, and the financial burden of holding multiple shows, many designers now choose to show their women’s and men’s collections in one. ICEBERG, the Italian fashion house headed by London designer James Long, presented a ‘co-ed’ Spring Summer ‘19 show this LFWM, with a range of sports and rave-inflected tailoring and casual wear for men, women, and, of course, anyone who wants to wear it.
From the grungy 'normcore' styles of Balenciaga menswear consultant Martine Rose, who presented her own label collection on a closed street in north London, to the ruffled chiffon men’s looks of South Korean brand Blindness (showing here for the first time); the celebrated work of Fashion East alum Charles Jeffrey, whose brand and Dalston club night LOVERBOY have a neo-punk, gender nonconforming, avant-garde aesthetic; the spiritual sportswear at Cottweiler, future-focused style at A-Cold-Wall*, dainty feathered cardis at Stefan Cooke, and the Americana at Liam Hodges (inspired by the Las Vegas of Donna Tartt’s novel The Goldfinch), there is a plethora of fresh fashions for you, whatever your body type and gender presentation. Click through to see the very best of LFWM Spring Summer '19.