Before Shoreditch became the trendy meeting point for the painfully normal, the east end of London used to be rife with creative geniuses before all the pop up shops and nine ‘til fivers came along. In those days, drunken idiots and creative geniuses alike would gather together in their local boozer of choice, The Bricklayers Arms, and it was here that Fashion East’s founder Lulu Kennedy would mingle with emerging designers who would soon become big names on the catwalk.
The non-profit initiative has previously brought the planet’s attention to fashion superstars Gareth Pugh, House of Holland, Nasir Mazhar, Claire Barrow and Meadham Kirchhoff to name a few. In it’s fifteenth year at LFW SS16, in three different locations across Soho’s Greek Street we were presented with two debut Fashion East collections from designers Richard Malone and This Is Uniform as well as a spectacular second show of wonderful work from Caitlin Price.
Word on the street is that Price’s original collection was scrapped at last minute to make way for the splendidly sporty numbers shown on Saturday, and even then she was up until 4am the night before just to get everything done. Although, that’s fashion for you and it doesn’t really matter as we were still in awe of what we saw!
Our hearts flipped as a full baby pink tracksuit complete with brand new Air Force Ones was gracing us with their presence, and it’s equally delightful pastel blue sibling wasn’t that much further away. It was by far the most nineties inspired look of the entire presentation and we envisioned a fictional flashback to a catfight between Emma Bunton and Mel C on the Spice Girls tour bus over who would get dibs on wearing our dream outfit first. Price’s entire collection with it’s flattering silhouettes, fuss-free block colours, exquisite detailing and activewear edge gave off an immediate ‘cool girl’ vibe and would fit right at home in any Polyester gal’s wardrobe.
As well as taking part in this year’s Fashion East show, Richard Malone’s recent Central Saint Martin’s graduate collection focused on using sustainable fabrics in oversized, draped shapes was so groundbreaking that it earned him the LVMH Grand Prix scholarship. As well as actively choosing to use materials from ethical sources, Malone appears to be one of the most down to earth designers currently in practice, as not only does he strive to achieve diversity through street casting his own models, his first introduction to fashion was from admiring the blokey ritual of wearing uniforms on a building site and his last collection was presented on the Underground at Old Street station.
In his latest work, Malone seems to be contrasting colour against form as some of the shapes seem positively historic – including details such as the flared trousers or the the pointed Venetian slippers complete with knee-high pull-ups – against the bright contemporary shades and patterns of the fabric. The loose-fitting coral dress layered over an asymmetrically striped monochrome top was by far our favourite look.
Blackpudlian angel Jenna Young first got noticed after a pair of sheer, neon orange organza jogging bottoms that she had serendipitously made for a friend got picked up by the team over at Vogue and used in a shoot. Following this ridiculously well deserved initial success, she decided to launch her brand This Is Uniform and it’s thanks to this that we were able to momentarily return back to school after the long Summer holidays.
The presentation gave off a strong vibe of stumbling into a sixth form common room, only the students were replaced with beautiful sassy models that were casually munching on McDonalds and interacting with each other as though they were mates. Wide-brimmed socks and a minimal colour scheme only accentuated the whole uniform feel and we wished more than anything that we could go back this term.
In a recent interview with Dazed, Young mentions that the Reebok footprint is the most commonly found footprint at a scene of a crime and separately notes that she has been exclusively using their trainers since Uniform’s second collection. We genuinely love it when crisp white kicks are styled against blocks of bright colours so obviously us Polyester girls were thrilled, there is no better feeling than returning to the playground in a new pair of trainers fresh out the box to make you feel cool as fuck.
Words by Hatti Rex