Test Drive - Page 48

FashionLondon urban Paul Smith AW15 The Urban Catwalk by Mark Cullum Photographs by Davide Cossu© With the ss16 womenswear shows going on this September at London Fashion Week (LFW), the global who’s who of the fashion world such as ourselves are keeping a style eye firmly on the talent. Chic, flamboyant, contemporary, luxury – just a few words that often get thrown around – but we ask: is London an influential place for more urban and streetwear focused designers? At a glance, the answer is firmly no. Urban fashion has typically been secluded to the subcultures of society, finding fame with the edgiest of stars and residing in a fashion genre of its own. It’s not mainstream, it’s not widely sought after and until recently it hasn’t really been tagged to the words “luxury” or “premium”. However, things are now changing, albeit slowly and little by little. ASHISH AW15 Shock place this brand high on London’s list of new streetwear influencers. As well as Ashley Williams showcasing, other contenders such as ASHISH and Claire Barrow prove that there is a place in the London fashion industry for this contemporary approach to streetwear; where a brazen attitude reigns supreme. But despite this gradual small change at LFW and in the London fashion industry in general, is our city really the place for these urban designers to grow and trade? After creating and showcasing here, is this city where their designs really make it? Designers like Nasir Mazhar and Astrid Andersen who have previously showcased at LFW are now revered in places like Japan, China and South Korea, where such styles are far more commercially popular than in London, or even New York and Paris. So whilst LFW is arguably opening up opportunities for more urban style brands, and London hosts a small yet impeccably talented set of such designers continuing to push the boundaries of contemporary streetwear, it seems that perhaps our city is not yet the place where the talented designs born here are truly appreciated. For example, we understand that the British Fashion Council (BFC) are granting a small number of such designers a powerful platform for promotion, although out of the 17 ready-to-wear designers this season featured on the BFC showspace at LFW (a coveted spot for those who can’t facilitate their own extravagant Burberryesque shows), only a couple of these designers could be regarded as an influencer for the urban and streetwear market, namely Ashley Williams and SIBLING. The design trio SIBLING ( Joe Bates, Sid Bryan and Cozette McCreary) are a firm and alternative favourite on the London catwalk with their loud designs and a focus on contemporary knitwear. Balaclavas, sequin masks and collaborations with the likes of PUMA, Cassette Playa and G FashionLondon 48