Fashion East Spring/Summer 2022. London, United Kingdom
Here’s an unfinished list of London-based designers that you might have not known without Lulu Kennedy, the fantastic founder and director of incubator Fashion East: Kim Jones, Craig Green, Grace Wales Bonner, Mowalola Ogunlesi, Loewe’s Jonathan Anderson, Simone Rocha, Marques’ Almeida, Charlotte Knowles, Supriya Lele, Jonathan Saunders, Ashley Williams, Nensi Dojaka, Liam Hodges, Asai, Matty Bovan, Richard Malone. Roksanda Ilincic, Stefan Cooke, Nasir Mazhar. Yeah, she did that.
The latest three editions to that extensive list are as talented, and exciting (if not more), than many of their predecessors. Maximilian Davis, Jawara Alleyne, and newcomer Chet Lo came out with a bang over London’s first big IRL fashion week since the pandemic started — other Fashion East designers Goomheo and Hrh equally came through strongly.
Take Jawara Alleyne, whose second presentation for Fashion East focussed on showing the work-in-progress in the designer’s exploration of repurposing, draping, cutting, and recontextualizing garments that have long been informed by Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. References aside, Alleyne makes a strong point by highlighting the unfair expectations about what a young designer can, and should, spend on materials. The fact that each piece presented has been made in his bedroom in East London adds to the practise.
Over at Maximilian Davis, the 25-year old designer, who for his debut runway outing got the A-team of creative collaborators back together, including Dazed editor-in-chief Ibrahim Kamara, musician SUUTOO, and fashion designer Nasir Mazhar. More restrained than the clothing has been in the past two seasons, Max said the collection reflected on childhood memories of family visits to Trinidad, and reflected on what the sea represents for so many Caribbean people, “a sense of homecoming, nostalgia, and freedom.”
The sea theme was pulled throughout Chet Lo, whose debut collection titled Splash, looked at the beauty of holiday life, the fluorescent drinks that always taste better on the beach, and the mystical romance found in the 1984 film of the same name. Like many of us, Lo dreamt of escaping to a tropical island over lockdown. While that didn’t happen, he did want to create a destination for his collection with no quarantine upon arrival, where mermaids exist, the swimwear is spikey (a brand signature technique), and the body is reversed. Refreshing.
Highsnobiety's Shopping List
Sheer Spike Knit Pool Noodle by Chet Lo
Next summer, all of you are staying at least 6ft away from me while I bathe among the tropical fish.
Fluorescent XXL Handbag by Chet Lo
In this, I’m keeping my spike knit pool noodle by Chet Lo, my spf 50 sun lotion, a six pack of beer, an equally big XXL beach towel (not by Chet Lo), a spike knit pool donut and a smaller fluorescent handbag by Chet Lo, both from the same collection as the noodle by Chet Lo. A light pack for the fluorescent XXL handbag by Chet Lo to keep its shape.
Safety Pin Tee by Jawara Alleyne
You know Hot Topic would be the one to rip off this in a heartbeat. But then I’m from Europe where we don’t have Hot Topic so how would I know.
Collarless ‘Dr No’ Jacket by Maximilian
This all-white collarless jacket, inspired by the 1962 James Bond film ‘Dr No’ is so damn beautiful that if I ever do find the money to cop it, I’m wearing it everywhere. We’re talking to the airport, to work, to my future wedding, to my first son’s graduation, to the Apple and the corner store on the same run, and most definitely to sofa on my next WFH conference call.
The Mullet Coat by Maximilian
Business in the front party in the back, the sartorial “I-support-young-London-designers” way.
Rubber Palm Fronds Show Piece by Maximilian
Created in partnership with London OG Nasir Mazhar, Maximilian’s finale look for his debut runway collection included a dramatic rubber-coated, sea urchin-like palm fronds which paid homage to Carnival, a central influence for the designer. A visual gift to all.