Showing that it means big business in menswear, Topman Design traditionally kicks off London Mens Collections just as everyone is easing themselves into the vibe. The vibe of expectation between registering, greeting industry colleagues and discussing what shows you’re doing. It’s well timed in the schedule.
You can’t really go wrong with a multi million pound brand like Topman whose high street credentials and kudos mean that most of this (unlike many of the shows) will actually end up being sported by urban youth, wearing their rebellion and their insouciance like a badge of honour. Moreover, it’s actually something when the team at Topman Design show some really strong looks and display hot cultural references for the yoot’ not experiencing them the first time round. Second (or even third) time round, we’d already bought the t-shirt, ripped it up, wore it to bed and listened to the clever, original cassette music on an actual cassette player. That’s before we got all 21st century on our assess and downloaded everything. Or turned to buying scratched vinyl, yet again.
Topman’s ‘Let’s Riot’ and ‘Danz Like Your Northern’ (Yes, @bombfashion. I can see you in the latter) slogans on jackets and tank tops spelled the message – This was a Wigan Casino Northern Soul by way of London’s 100 Club. There were Northern Soul Indie New Wave references all over the place in this ‘Northern Surf’ collection.
Super wide chinos that flap as your sliding across the dancefloor to retro tracksuits, windcheaters, washed silk suits, patches and badges and stiff leathers. This was (sub)urban subculture personified.
Within this there were clever matchy matchy pieces that pinned the taste level just right in ice-cream colours as well as some directional points via the pin-tucks and wide flares. I’d go as so far to say that if this collection strolled out under the guise of a Paris designer (like Haider Ackermann), there would be heaps more attention and praise.
Gordon Richardson steers his Topman Design team well as street style influencers. The kids are alright in this garb.