Star Wars Style
Sci-fi geeks everywhere are going mental for the latest addition to the hugely popular Star Wars film franchise; Star Wars: The Force Awakens (just a few days to go guys!). Adding to the hype surrounding the upcoming release, this year saw a selection of menswear designers getting in on the act with Star Wars-inspired styles. Hot homegrown designer Bobby Abley had fun with his S/S16 collection, combining out-of-this-world aesthetics with his trademark sense of humour, from fuzzy Chewbacca sweats to crop tops embossed with Dark Vader’s face. Additionally, in November a team of 10 standout design talents each created a unisex jumper and tee influenced by Star Wars in the name of charity. Names included J.W. Anderson, Christopher Raeburn and Nasir Mazhar, as well as Agi & Sam, with proceeds going to the Great Ormond Street Hospital.
Style Tech for Men
We all know big things are happening at the interchange between style and technology, and as the fastest-growing market in in the fashion industry, menswear is no exception. 2015 has seen London-based design duo Ada + Nik (who we’ve had the pleasure of interviewing last season) create the Narrative Jacket; featuring a built-in camera that can share images with a linled-up app, snaps are taken automatically at intervals to document the wearer’s everyday life without distracting them from it. Other highlights included bespoke garms designed to reflect the mood of the wearer by the Danish Abstract collective, as well as innovative temperature-regulating shirts by Ministry of Supply and Nike’s self-lacing sneakers inspired by Back to the Future II. Smart accessories were on-point too, from the global phenomenon of the Apple Watch to Layer Design Studio‘s eco-conscious Worldbeing wearable that tracks your personal carbon footprint.
Rick Owens’ Controversial Catwalks
American designer Rick Owens is no stranger to making a bit of a statement in his catwalk shows, whether it’s using fierce dance troops or setting off ensembles with authentic human backpacks. Back in January, the debut of his A/W15 menswear collection nearly shut down the Internet – after all, it’s not every day you see male models hitting the runway with their peen on display. Garments were cut with low-slung shapes and peepholes, revealing a flash of skin (or the full package) when worn; an interesting challenge on taboos surrounding male nudity, especially given that female models often bare nipples and more at fashion week.
Fast-forward to June, when another eyebrow-raising show took place in Paris – although this wasn’t down to Rick Owens himself. As a model called Jera walked down the runway, he pulled out a hand-written sign with the phrase ‘PLEASE KILL ANGELA MERKEL (the German chancellor) NOT’. This unexpected, unplanned and rather weird demonstration earned Jera, who had been Owens’ muse for 12 years, a prompt punch from the furious designer afterwards. The banner’s message seemed especially mystifying when taking the S/S16 collection’s underlying theme into consideration; protesting male aggression.
Men’s Fashion Embraces Gender Fluidity
As attitudes to gender roles continue to change, fashion is evolving as a result. Moving away from conventional approaches to ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ dressing, many brands are breaking boundaries with unisex collections, androgynous designs and transgender or crossover castings. While this has been happening in womenswear for some time, menswear has taken slightly longer to catch up – but 2015 has seen some intriguing developments. For starters, high-end department store Selfridges introduced their Agender concept earlier this spring, celebrating ‘fashion without definition’. Its pop-up space offered shoppers a ‘gender-neutral’ shopping experience, where men and women could look for styles based on their personality rather than their sex; key features included the use of non-branding, unmarked boxes and minimal decor. Meanwhile, on the catwalk, brands like J.W. Anderson, Prada, Givenchy and Gucci (helmed by new design star Alessandro Michele) all experimented with gender-blurring looks, introducing twists like sheer fabrics, dress shapes and decorative details. We also loved the Acne Studios A/W15 campaign, starring creative director Jonny Johansson’s preteen son Frasse in a soft pink coat and heeled boots.