Wearability. Heritage. Sustainability. As we step into the new year and shift our gaze towards the future, these are words that sit nicely with me as London delivers the first breath of forward-thinking fashion with designers showing us what to expect for Autumn Winter 2020.
With clean-cut designs, wearability was a clear focus this season. Qasimi had an incredibly moving show featuring beautiful velvet tailoring, sheer shirts styled with tailored trousers and deeply rich tones - though it was a green trench that stole the show and our hearts. The show was a heartfelt and elegantly designed tribute by Hoor Al Qasimi to her late brother and founder of Qasimi, Sheikh Khalid bin Sultan Al Qasimi. Xander Zhou’s collection - another show we had been looking forward to seeing - broke the usual silhouette of the traditional shirt. Bending lines and transforming subtle hems, Xander’s unique take on the conventional blended playfulness and practicality: our favourite concoction. Band of Outsiders exuded a much more casual styled approach, albeit to the same rule - wearability - with block colours, hoodies and layered suiting. It seems the fashion gods have spoken and 2020 is set to be the year that we can comfortably walk that fine line between understated and class.
Heritage also felt like a huge part of this season and this was clear in Bianca Saunders' collection, whose focus on old VHS and dancehall manifested in various characters dancing around her set. The clothes were sharp, the concept grabbing and there was a clear nod to her Caribbean roots. This mood continued with Wales Bonner showing another reference to 1970s Caribbean community. This time drawing from the young locals of Lewisham, a strong sense of Mod style was mixed with crochet moments and a clear touch of Jamaican colours, delivering just the flare and spectacle I love and expect from her. Nicholas Daley also reached back to his roots set to another musical affair (should we expect no less?). Flares of colour and nods to Hendrix paired with vintage sportswear to conjure the sense as though, through this collection, we are visiting a romance from his past. Another touch of home came to us via the sofa of Astrid Anderson’s mother (there’s a sentence I never thought I’d write!). This 70s print was referenced through ponchos and flared moments, and I was happy to see that she also brought in her own brand’s heritage of amazing sportswear pieces.
Perhaps the biggest shift we felt this season, was towards fashion with a message. A change that has been welcomed with open arms by all, it was Bethany Williams’ collection of sustainable colours, knitwear, illustrations and just pure vibrancy that was one of the biggest hits of the weekend. For this collection, she also collaborated with The Magpie Project, a charity which supports women and children with temporary housing. Ahluwalia sent another powerful message, sticking to her core ethos of sustainability and upcycling with a collection that swirled colours in a huge throwback to the 60s. E.Tautz’s collection was also made with the planet in mind. The second-hand stock collection reworked with patches had stitching done so effortlessly that it is commendable, with many coats and jackets to die for. Per Gotesson continued this bold message through fabric collaging with painted leathers and other re-used upcycled materials making yet another appearance. One thing was clear, sustainability is on everyone's minds in 2020.
London provided an array of thought-provoking shows, demonstrating that there is more to fashion than a mere trend by allowing clothing to be a beacon of hope; an ethical statement to provoke conversation or debate.