A Guide to British Men’s Style
The news, brands to know, and changes to the menswear industry
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As ever, men’s style is changing with the times we live in. A world of juxtapositions, menswear style shifts from sharp Savile Row tailoring to casual street style where denim, sportswear and eclectic accessories reign. This means that in 2017, style is becoming more individual, fluid and exciting.
You can wear a traditional Henry Poole suit, team it with some trainers and a Kent & Curwen hat, and still represent truly British style. Dylan Jones, the editor of GQ Magazine said, ‘If anyone ever asks you just why Britain is so good at menswear, and unsurpassed at producing designers, then you only need to say this: not only are the British good at tradition, we excel at rebellion too.’
It is this devil may care attitude to dressing that makes British men’s style so unique.
London Fashion Week Men’s
London Fashion Week Men’s, which launched in 2012, has been gaining traction as one of the most important weeks in men’s fashion. Since its inception, brands such as Belstaff, Kent & Curwen and Vivienne Westwood have shown (Westwood, opting to show one collection for both genders at this year’s men’s fashion week, over women’s in February) in the schedule.
Elsewhere, many of the leading brands have been opting to show collections for both genders instead of sticking to the two different gendered events. Burberry and Gucci have both merged their catwalk collection shows for the new season. Burberry opted to show at London Fashion Week, while Alessandro Michele’s Gucci collection was shown at the start of Milan Fashion Week.
Christopher Bailey, the creative director of Burberry, told Business of Fashion’s Tim Blanks, ‘In this moment of change, I’m an optimist and I believe in moving forward and this is the situation, so let’s move forward. But let’s do it with conviction.’
What does this mean for men’s style? The merging of the gendered shows could be a business decision for brands to save on the enormous cost of hosting extravagant fashion shows, but also in such a time of change and flux, it seems a modern and simple fix to bring the collections for both genders together.
Brands to Know for 2017
Kent & Curwen
Kent & Curwen, which was established in 1929, made its name supplying ties to the venerable universities of Oxford and Cambridge. After the loss of the founder Eric Kent, the brand ceased trading. Last year, the brand relaunched for S/S’17, under the creative direction of Daniel Kearns in partnership with David Beckham. Kearns has taken inspiration from the authenticity of this past story to create a wardrobe fit for the modern man. It’s about reworking the classic hallmarks of British sporting pastimes for the every day, pillars that are very much intertwined with the story of Kent & Curwen. The new aesthetic of the brand is a wardrobe with roots in British tradition that fits seamlessly with the way men around the world live their lives today.
Private White V.C
With fans including Douglas Booth, Eddie Redmayne and David Gandy, it’s hardly surprising that the brand is going from strength to strength.
‘Private White V.C. is for people who have an emotional attachment to the clothes that accompany them through life,’ says Nick Ashley, Private White V.C.’s Creative Director, who designs all of the brand’s collections. Nick possesses a long and illustrious history in the fashion industry, having worked for Kenzo, Tod’s of Italy and Dunhill Menswear among others. The son of Laura Ashley, the renowned fashion and interiors designer, Nick was immersed in design and creativity from an early age and so it is little wonder that he should follow in his mother’s footsteps. Known for great tailoring and cool separates for the modern gentleman. Private White V.C makes clothes you want to wear every day, and keep forever.
For traditional British Savile Row tailoring, Huntsman is the crème of the crop. The Huntsman of today is not just a Savile Row tailor but also a British luxury institution, as ambitious and uncompromising now as it was over 100 years ago.
The Style Updates
MORE MENSWEAR: How British menswear is changing for the better / The C&TH Guide to Savile Row / Men’s Style: GQ’s Dylan Jones on modern British style