London Fashion Week Men’s 2018: Ones to Watch
FOUR NEW-GEN DESIGNERS ARE SHAKING UP LONDON FASHION WEEK MEN’S WITH THEIR OUTLANDISH, OFFBEAT DESIGNS.
by Ka Wa Key Chow and Jarno Lappanen is in its fourth season, although this week marks the first time the designers have made it onto the London schedule. Chow is a Royal College of Art graduate, while Leppanen comes from an arts background.
The inspiration behind the collection was “a story about a monk who imagines himself as a model in a work by the late photographer Ren Hang,” said Chow. Drawing directly from this reference and monk imagery, the collection was created from a swathe of bright-yet-earthy colors in a swathe of red, golden yellow and cobalt blue.
The duo said they have also been working on fabric manipulation and development this season. “We will continue using our signature technique, which is where we create a semi-transparent pattern on cotton blend and it makes it look like a painting,” Chow said. The process creates the appearance of dreamy, lightweight and floaty garments. A plastic-y PVC fabric will make its debut in the new collection. “We wanted to have a waterproof element to it and we used a combination of previous techniques to develop it,” said Leppanen.
Ka Wa Key is stocked in Opening Ceremony, Wut in Tokyo and at two stand-alone boutiques in China. Prices range from 90 pounds for a T-shirt to 1,000 pounds for specially treated garments such as coats and jackets. Their collection will be presented as a 15-minute performance piece in London Fashion Week Men's Discover Lab on June 11.
Bowen and Luca Marchetto launched their eponymous brand JordanLuca last year. The two had been working in the industry for a few years before joining: Luca was design assistant to Vivienne Westwood and Jordan was making hats with British milliner Stephen Jones.
JordanLuca launched in September 2017 and business has been thriving: Harvey Nichols is among the 12 stockists that have picked up the brand. “We have a few years of experience, so we started with a very focused distribution strategy in terms of where, when and how we are going to distribute our products,” Bowen said.
This season, the growing movement of flat Earthers inspired the duo. “It's not just isolated to America, it's growing bigger and we felt that this was very relevant because ultimately it boils down to people not believing in our system, with something so fundamental as the Earth being a globe,” he said of their inspiration.
The collection will see a continuation of their best-selling pieces such as tracksuits made from crinkly aluminum Space-Age fabrics. Macramé, linen and denim will also be incorporated into the collection in an appropriately earthy palette of brown and camels. “Ultimately JordanLuca is Italian heritage meets London subculture, so we will still be looking at those two tropes and fusing them together,” Bowen said.
Their collection will start at 130 euros for basic items while heavier pieces will have an average price of 1,000 euros. JordanLuca will be showing their collection at London Fashion Week Men's Discovery Lab on June 9.
From left: Sharon Wauchob; Ka Wa Key Chow and Jarno Leppanen of Ka Wa Key; Bianca Saunders, Luca Marchetto and Jordan Bowen of JordanLuca.
Ka Wa Key