MAN Turns 10 at London Collections: Men SS16

A little over a week ago, on the opening day of London Collection: Men an anniversary was held in respect for Lulu Kennedy's Fashion East and Topman's collaboration to offer a platform for young designers, MAN celebrating 10 wonderful years of their support. MAN has nourished the likes of JW Anderson, Craig Green, Christopher Shannon, James Long, Katy Eary and Astrid Andersen, those and many others who are leading the way in London's menswear scene. These designers have carved the way and make what we see today seem relevant. This season saw Liam Hodges present his last of three seasons under the MAN umbrella and Rory Parnell-Mooney his second. Unfortunately, Nicomede Talavera decided to take a season out and not show a collection for Spring/Summer 2016 due to personal circumstances. As devastated as I was not to see what one of my current favourite designers had been up to lately, I completely understand his reasons and hope to see him back designing as soon as possible. Nevertheless it was a incredible season for the two other remaining designers, Liam and Rory. 

Irish-born Rory Parnell-Mooney is quite the young designer, with only one year's experience out of the world famous MA Course at the prestigious Central Saint Martins and already into his second season with MAN. Rory Parnell-Mooney kind of reminds me of a younger Rick Owens what with his cult-like designs and dominant ways of dressing. Rory's collection last season like really wowed me, it's colour palette, loose flowing shapes and sinister looking headwear was incredibly mature for a someone not too far from still being a student and this current season just built on my admiration for him as a designer. This season he expanded on the idea of religious dressing and incorporated a lot more fabric manipulation techniques, as seen from his debut collection (AW15). I love how Rory wanted to explore the body, in ways both revealing and also wanting to cover the body up. Russian artist Kazimir Malevich and the Suprematist Movement influenced the entire collection "geometric shapes and clean bonded lines are throughout" Parnell-Mooney quoted after the show. There was an extreme gothic romanticism to the collection I thought, with the predominance of black or moody colours and raw sexual ambiguity of cut-outs revealing nipples, belly buttons or tricep muscles, garments being either draped or hung from the body and not being so gender-exact just added to the drama of the collection. It was the type of collection you would expect from a designer who shows in Paris, a certain Gareth Pugh or like I mentioned earlier, Rick Owens so seeing it in London was actually quite refreshing. To end, I absolutely loved this collection. Everything from the amazing knitwear pieces to the strong architectural shapes and even those condom-like hats I loved. I personally also love how the designer questioned why can't men wear dresses, I mean who's to say we can't? But not in a way to re-define gender, it felt appropriate for the collection and I can imagine big things to come for this talent and I seriously cannot wait to see what Rory Parnell-Mooney has in stall for us in his next and last season with the support of the MAN Platform.

Everyday bloke and Royal College of Art MA Graduate Liam Hodges, who designs with "men who live for the week, not just the weekend" in mind, shown his latest and last collection with the support of MAN this Spring and Summer 2016 season. The collection was entitled "Blackburn's Children" and was heavily influenced by Pirate Radio and football lads-cum-hooligans. Liam speaks to those lads who love a good game of football but are equally obsessed with clothes, which injects a certain amount of honestly and sensitivity to his collections and something I can really relate to myself. I talk with just as much enthusiasm about fashion as I do football, if not more now. In fact before enrolling on my art foundation course I struggled to discuss fashion at all, something that I loved, with my friends and family but specifically males because I guess I felt a little embarrassed but now I feel completely comfortable talking about fashion in front of just about anyone. It felt like a massive weight had been lifted off my shoulders. Hopefully I didn't go off topic too much, but I've never really spoke about that before. The collection had a relative 90's vibe to it, something I am currently obsessed with and that then led to digitally printed football jerseys, complete with emblems and goalkeeper gloves. Which I loved and thought was really fun. Also what I found to be cool was the climbing harnesses and car seat-belt buckles which I think performed as straps for backpacks? Combat trousers and electric blue retro camouflage updated with jacquards all of which seem to be making a big return. Something quite unexpected that happened was the models in the finale, walking to a live spoken-word poem by Hector Aponysus which got everybody in the fashion scene talking. It had a certain amount of raw energy just like Liam Hodges himself so made perfect sense for him to feature in the end of an era show for Hodges and MAN. Another great collection for Liam Hodges who I feel has a frequency definitely worth tuning in for...

Images courtesy of Dazed Digital, Idol Mag and

Sorry my "MAN Turns 10" blog post has taken so long to complete, there's no excuse for me spending so long on it I guess, so yeah sorry about that. It is now Milan Men's Fashion Week so expect coverage and my own personal reviews on my favourite shows from Milan and hope to read them soon as always at the...

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