Armour and shelter — a new purpose for our clothes? London Fashion Week Mens

Design & Product / Fashion Weeks

In today’s cities, life is dense and our personal space extends into the public space. At London Fashion Week Men’s many collections revolved around utility and protection


It is said that more than half of the world’s population live in cities rather than rural areas — and it’s getting more. You can get a little taster of what this feels like when you’re in London, a city where every hour is rush hour. Life in cities is dense. Our personal space becomes smaller because of continuously increasing rents and we share public spaces and transport with more and more people. 


A-Cold-Wall spring summer 2019


Our commutes become longer because life in the centre of cities becomes unaffordable and, therefore, we’ll spend more time on trains. This is where we do our nails in the morning and where we watch our favourite show on the phone on our way back home. Our lives don’t just become more claustrophobic, they also extend into public space. 

Sometimes I find myself reminiscing about ”the old days“. My preferred decade of fashion lies between the mid 70s and mid 80s. Everybody wanted to be chic. Women wore pencil skirts and clutches, men had a sports jacket effortlessly hanging off their shoulder. Not only does that make me sound old. It’s also a fantasy of times past.

I recently went to London for Fashion Week Men’s. Unfortunately, I’m not one of those who is being driven around in a black car from one show to the next. I walk or take the tube. I need my laptop, an accessible pocket for a power pack, a bottle of water — you get the picture. 

I’m just trying to imagine doing that in leather soled shoes and a tailored jacket effortlessly dangling from my shoulders. Not possible. Neither comfortable, nor practical enough. I recently read an article in a b2b publication whether „athleisure“ is here to stay. Call it what you will, athleisure, sportswear, utility, in my opinion, this discussion is redundant.

A) they’re all melting into one and b) utility and protection will be more and more a necessity for the clothes that have to support us in everyday life. Now, more than ever, the way we dress is a reflection of our time. That doesn’t necessarily mean that sartorial is a thing of the past. Suits and sports jacket just come way more relaxed today. At Pitti Uomo in Florence just a few days later I noticed that even sartorial heavyweights like Brunello Cucinelli tone down down their formal tone and give their collection a more casual feel.


Michiko Koshino spring summer 2019


Many of the London collections revolved around utility and protection. (At least when it comes to the look. I don’t know whether the clothes are actually functional the way they seem but they certainly look the part. If not, this is a call out to the designers to get their clothes ready for our everyday lives.) 

There’s pockets, body bags, zippers. There’s inflatable pouches that were probably designed to give a certain shape — but I can’t help to think that they are for protection, to create an artificial personal space around their wearer. At A-Cold-Wall models were sent down the runway surrounded by frames that were carried for them. Symbolic?

Oh yes, another theme seems to become a continuous thing in London: gender fluidity. 

Our favourite collections below



A-Cold-Wall spring summer 2019




Berthold spring summer 2019




Christopher Raeburn spring summer 2019




Daniel W Fletcher spring summer 2019




Charles Jeffrey spring summer 2019




Blindness spring summer 2019




The Author

Bjoern Luedtke is a freelance journalist, editor and writer specialising in fashion and marketing