THE UNIVERSITY OF WESTMINSTER MA MENSWEAR S/S24 LONDON FASHION WEEK
Fourteen astounding MA Menswear graduates took to London Fashion Week for S/S24, presenting their collections on the catwalk for the very first time in the Newgen space at the Old Selfridges Hotel. Introducing their take on the future of menswear, with collections transforming the foundations of classical menswear exploring traditional tailoring, denim, streetwear and gender-fluid silhouettes, the class of 2023 did not disappoint.
delivered Full Metal Dandy. Inspired by black metal music and researching some of the first black metal bands in Norway, metal iconography and satanic symbolism.His silhouette is a reference to the cape of a Norwegian shepherd and is further combined with menswear tropes of the Dandy & the Flâneur. Playing with nails as an iconic symbol, Dai transforms his garments into living sculptures that are visually recognisable within the genre.
served DIY 90s in a collection combining the ideas behind modular buildings, stationery and 90’s indie music culture created through the use of classic menswear pieces including the duffle coat and parka. These classics have been deconstructed and re-imagined, reflecting the modular nature of modern-day buildings, materials and colours and made more contemporary through the application of materials such as vinyl and acrylic alongside timeless wools and denim. The silhouettes give a more relaxed, street-wear feel to the collection and the accompanying stationery-inspired accessories inspired by and in homage to Judy Blame.
Clothes of Diabolik. Yuchen Yuan was inspired by the iconic 1960’s Italian film, ‘Danger: Diabolik’. Through an exploration of the villain figure in Diabolik, Yuchen played with ideas of duality in classic menswear looks combined with a mysterious muse figure and notions of sexuality and surrealism. The 1960s silhouettes are exaggerated at certain parts of the body, such as the shoulder and chest, to emphasize and present a hypermasculine shape that has always been at the core of her practice.
A denim resurgence, obsessively collecting second-hand garments and exploiting their provocative designs – broken up and reorganised into new ones – to create a dynamic and driven wild masculinity. Exploring new cutting concepts to preserve the original structure of the garment, investigating the characteristics of the fabric and combining different thicknesses of fabrics to produce innovative draping techniques this collection brings sustainability and a sense of rebellion.
Movement. For Haiyang, fashion is free and diverse, it is unity, and tolerance, regardless of race, class, or gender. The garments he produces are gender-neutral. One of the suits had oversized shoulders that moved forward and formed pleats, and the curved legs changed shape, and the asymmetrical shoulders were designed to produce garments that produced different draping on the body.
Unveiling Identity. Nym Promprasert fuses the elegance of couture with a touch of late 1990s grunge, transforming men’s clothing, particularly tailored jackets. These jackets are artfully manipulated, wrapped, twisted, and draped to reconfigure the wearer’s proportions. Transparent materials, such as silk chiffon or stretchy shiny fabrics, are thoughtfully incorporated to accentuate and reveal the wearer’s silhouette. This transparent aspect reinforces the concept of self-confidence and self-acceptance. In a harmonious fusion of femininity and masculinity, elements typically found in women’s fashion, including corsets, hook-and-eye closures, and boning, are effortlessly integrated into masculine garments.
The Canticle of the Worker,tells the forgotten and overlooked story of a 1930’s British worker. In the research stages, Randy met and interviewed a gentleman from Scotland who had a wool and dye factory that was run by his grandfather. In conversation with him, he not only learned about the traditional technique of British tailoring and print but also received antique wool and print stamps from the 1930s. These artefacts inspired his vision. Through this collection, he intended to create garments and designs that were constructed with traditional silhouettes and antique materials from this period, while using different kinds of dye and print techniques that can reflect the authenticity of the worker’s life and speak to an aesthetic close to his own personal identity.
Tchotchkes. American slang referring to small shiny objects that are only decorative and not functional defines the concept of Lele’s collection. Inspired by extravagant visuals from the 1920s, specifically the photography series ‘Bright Young Thing’ by Cecil Beaton, a world of self-indulgent and extreme elegance, hedonism formed her muse. Characters from the group present themselves wearing extremely fitted tailored suits and ties, glossy hair, juxtaposed with sequin dresses and ruffled shirts challenging menswear identities. Lele investigates traditional menswear garments including the trench coat and tailored blazer with elongated silhouettes.
An imaginary school day. Jiwon Jang was born in Korea. But she spent her middle school days in Japan. Her collection offers a glimpse of both cultures and her ongoing obsession with uniforms. Jang believes uniforms are refined because they are symbols of the group they belong to, they have a deep history and a characteristic that does not change easily. Through her designs, she explores these themes in a more exaggerated, humorous and playful fashion. The androgynous silhouette is an attempt to break down the characteristics of her culture: conservative & concerned with the opinion of others. In order to express school uniforms as more beautiful and attractive clothes, she also studied the Victorian era in England and reinterpreted it using the Bustle as a reference to create a unique silhouette.
The Poor in Spirit. Anyi Tang is inspired by her upbringing in Northeast China and the rich tapestry of life experiences encountered there. Tang is particularly drawn to how belief systems serve as anchors for the marginalised, particularly through Yang Yankang’s documentation of the rural Chinese in the 1990s. These factors have shaped her design style, which blends the modest, reserved, and controlled qualities of the East with the strong structure of Western garments.
Future Noir. Ben Lord imagines a gritty futuristic cityscape, lights glistening onto wet asphalt and chrome. 1980’s punk magazines & Bladerunner led him into an exploration of textiles. With an obsession for surface qualities and a myriad of textile elements & archetypal garments are his statement. Black dusty latex drapes to the floor from trench coats and wide-leg trousers whilst also hugging the body in the form of slim-fitting vests. All hand painted. Red tartan fabric donated by McQueen picked for its punk roots, and layered with shiny black prints obscure the pattern of his world.
Century Youth. Xinyi Liu’s practice explores an obsession with nostalgia through which she immerses herself in exploring memories across eras she has not herself experienced. Challenging complex fabric combinations and colour matching is her design language. Century Youth was a love letter to her exploration of retro 1970’s Memories.
Biker. Bushido codes and Bosozoku Japanese biker gangs were the initial inspirations for Yoshie’s collection. These combined with military garments all evoke notions of Samurai culture which have always been an obsession in Yoshie’s practice. Using a transformable vintage motorcycle coat, she explored a folding method to create an elegant collection with tough sensibility in a modern fashion language. Classic fabrics such as gaberdines and matt drills are fused with gloss and shine to create a modern interpretation of the subject. The silhouettes combine volume with function establishing Yoshie’s design DNA.
RE-Rebel. Inspired by the photography of Karlheinz Weinberger of rebel youth in 1960s Switzerland, Xiaona takes us on a journey of re-imagining existing garments. Images of working-class teenagers that fused iconic American pop culture – biker jackets, denim jeans, bouffant hairdos, James Dean insouciance – with their own idiosyncratic sensibilities became Xiaona’s muse.
Words by Lewis Robert Cameron Hair by John Vial @johnvialhair using Wella Professional Make up by Andrew Gallimore and team @agencyofsubstance Show production by Blonstein Music by Doris A Day Show support and Casting by Clare Copland