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London Collections: Men - Q&A - Christopher Shannon

The second installment of our London Fashion Week – London Collections: Men previews. This time we speak to Christopher Shannon, a favourite round here, as he gets ready to show his sportswear stylings for Spring Summer 2013 to the world.

Read the interview on the following page…

London Collections: Men is on its way, what do you think about this extended menswear schedule?

CS – I think we have to give it a go and see how it works. Its quite padded, I’m not sure how buyers will respond. Its worth a shot I think, for us Spring/Summer has always been tricky with buyers as we’ve shown so late in the season, thankfully most of our stores hold budget back so they can order but it isn’t ideal. This will be the first time we have both full mainline and KIDDA collections ready for buyers at the right time for them.

What do you think prompted this new focus on menswear?

CS – Firstly the MAN show and then the MAN day, its only really been because of the work of the new designers over the past two years, people making relevant things, I doubt most of the stores we work with are coming to see what’s happening on Savile Row.

Can you tell us a little about the initial stages of creating your SS13 collection? How did it all begin?

CS – It never really stops to begin again, it’s an ongoing process. I just see what I’m in the mood for. We started with the footwear and the bags this season as they have the longest lead times. After that I see what sort of imagery I have been into and see if there’s a link between it all. We work with staple garments so there is always a period of re fitting and seeing how we can finish the pieces better, fabric sourcing always take much longer than we think.

What can you tell us about SS13? How would you describe this upcoming collection?

CS – It’s quite upbeat, I think it’s maybe a little less commercial than last season. It’s quite graphic and colourful for us. We’ve worked with Kickers on the shoes but they are a bit more ambitious than last season and the bags with Cambridge Satchel Company are also looking pretty good.

How do you think the London menswear scene has changed over the past, say, 5 years?

CS – I don’t think there was one 5 years ago, not like there is now. I think people crave the new, men are much more into clothes and also tired of the high street. There’s something about fast fashion that I don’t think works for men in a way. Also there are so many magazines and blogs and great online stores like oki ni, they all seem to have come together in their thinking a bit.

Do you think people are more receptive to new ideas in men’s fashion now or is progress still quite slow?

CS – I think new ideas get in all the time just that they are quite subtle, like colours or fit. Designers are always doing skirts for men as if that’s some how a new idea or something that men want, I don’t think newness is that literal. Also if men wanted to wear skirts they just would by now, I dont find anything subversive in it anymore just dated really. Also the pieces we put down the catwalk are the pieces we sell, and they sell in store. We dont do the show then a sales rail of plain shirts and polos, so men must be receptive to new things otherwise we wouldnt be in that situation.

Is there a particular piece in the collection you’re looking forward to revealing?

I never really know until after the show what my favorites are. I like the shirts and the new fit of the trousers. I also put in pieces I don’t really like. The shoes and bags are really new for us and there’s a few other showy things that I’m excited about.

What’s to come once LFW is done and dusted?

More of the same. We start KIDDA AW 13 and we are toying with lunching a women’s wardrobe in September which is terrifying but exciting. There’s loads of projects I want to do over summer, mostly editorial, also a book project we’ve been working on and a sunglasses range. And we’ve got a Olympics project that will be revealed next month. I would also like a holiday but that’s looking less and less likely.

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