Practicality and Fashion: sworn enemies in the eyes of the media. Videos show models toppling over their 9-inch heels and images laugh at avant-garde headpieces that sacrifice the wearer’s vision. But practicality is starting to separate menswear from those stereotypical scoffs at fashion. More and more high fashion designers are taking on the newfound rationality that has seen the recent surge in popularity of mountaineering brands such as North Face, Berghaus and Patagonia.
Christopher Raeburn combines service and sustainability to create a collection that blows holes (literally) in the apparent choice we have to make – to look good or to feel good. For AW17, Christopher steps up to his reputation as a collaborative force when it comes to accessories, working with Eastpak for functional rucksacks, and Clarks to help the models march with purpose in high top boots. Strapped in field jackets, anoraks and waterproof materials, his men are sheltered – even their backpacks are wearing their neon protective covers.
The structure and formality of the military is deconstructed and the utilitarian collection has a sense of being on the brink of destruction. With the tagline ‘Cut ‘N Shut’, Christopher puzzles together shapes with a DIY disconnection that rivals Dominic Harwood’s disjointed soundtrack. Camo fights with fluro as explosions of turquoise and neon green peeks through holes in the low-key hues of navy, grey and black – does the khaki army want to be seen or not? Either way, we certainly want to see more of them.