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After graduating from the Royal College of Art in 2007, James Long debuted his collection at MAN, a Topman sponsored platform, that same year. His own label has since gone from strength to strength and Long has become the first menswear designer to receive an award from Fashion Forward (a growing scheme funding selected new design talent in London).  He also has lucrative consultancy work with Versace. What’s most exciting, however, is how well James Long combines his creativity with a knowledge of what his customer wants (and needs).

Finale at James Long AW12

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It’s been quiet around these parts for days now. So where, in amongst a sea full of Mary Katrantzou tote bags, beautiful James Long knitwear and a trusty pad and pen, have I been all this time? Interning for Melanie Rickey of course, Fashion Editor-at-Large of Grazia magazine! Her business proved so much of a learning curve, and it was down to Melanie herself that I got to perch my bum front row at some of the biggest menswear shows this season during the highly anticipated London Fashion Week. Not only that, I got to put my journalism skills to the test, interviewing some of London’s hottest talent in menswear backstage. Thanks Mel!

J.W Anderson fuelled the fire of menswear on Wednesday 22nd February and sartorial wear was strictly off the cards. As the first menswear designer to showcase his new collection, entitled ‘Chamber of Isolation’, the venue was claustrophobic to the backdrop of heavy industrial beats. A spooky start to a theatrical collection. Fitting considering Anderson’s background in theatre.

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There is never a true appreciation during Fashion Week for menswear. I have somewhat in my time become an individual campaign in myself to highlight the talent that shines during the last day of London Fashion Week. Behind the Clark Kent like spectacles lies a menswear designer whose signature pieces surrounding leather and knitwear form a collaboration of materials that drape and hang loose on the body whilst never compromising on the aesthetic of figure and form.

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So it’s over. We can now begin to feel nostalgic over the S/S collections of London Fashion Week and focus our attention on Milan as they kicked off their fashion week with a Gucci opening, showing off their harem pants. Yuck. But taking a quick step back, how did the men fair during the final day of LFW dedicated especially to them?

James Long and J.W Anderson were two men I was eager to see. Needless to say I was not disappointed but at the same time my somewhat fashion clogged brain struggled to take in some of the pieces from individual collections.

A continuous theme across collections from designers J.W Anderson, James Long, Felipe Rojas Llanos and Christopher Shannon was on show flesh. Through the use of light and airy see-through fabrics the body is no longer obscured from view.

Knitwear, yes knitwear, was key this season for men with heavy pieces loosely hanging from the model and accompanied with smart, ankle length, slim fitted trousers (not to forget with the bottoms rolled up) gave off a somewhat casual/smart appearance. It is however, slightly beyond me that a collection designed for spring and summer would somehow consist of heavy knitwear pieces. I know London doesn’t exactly hit the mid 40’s during summer time but surely lighter weight fabrics would have suited the collection slightly better?

So here we have it, my favourite and least favourite pieces from the menswear day during London Fashion Week.

E.Tautz S/S 11 collection boasted light fabrics with a sophisticated edge through tailored shorts and smart shoe wear.

This specific piece by J.W Anderson boasted a clever use of light layering with a rolled up under shirt and fabric popping out from under the trousers. The use of the chain directly halfway up the body flattered the slim fitted trousers.

Back to the trend forecast here we see the use of a somewhat see-through, extremely light, cardigan. Anyone else notice those studded boots? Going back to Burberry’s trend forecast for S/S ’11 I’d take a guess that studs are a win win. Plus no-one’s gonna mess with you in these bad boys!

Christopher Shannon was white white white with part of his collection using translucent material.

So what did I dislike? Lets wrap this one up pretty quickly.

A J.W Anderson knitwear nightmare.

I sense a somewhat tie-dye moment that went a little mad. I mean, how the hell are you expected to colour co-ordinate something that has every colour in it?

Don’t get me wrong, I respect every designers talent to simply create alone but this screams to me, wild west nightmare slash failed basketball player?

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