Earlier this week me and my fellow fashion course mates went on a little field trip up to London. We were required to visit designated high end retailers around the city to look at the finishings, fabrication and designs of garments. The manufacturing quality and fabrication of contemporary designer pieces was something we have to try and consider while working on our own garments for our Final Major Project. Shops that we visited included Browns Focus, Dover Street Market, and Acne Studios. Overall while browsing through the stores, I noticed that designers seemed to have been inspired by basic loose sportswear silhouettes. For examples, basic college style sweatshirts would be embroidered with stunning feminine sequence and jewels. This made me realised that sometimes its not about developing an overly complicated shape but rather than focusing on the right fabrication designing details such as pockets, zips etc and cool print/ embellishment. I was very pleased with my findings and managed to gather some really interesting ideas that I can potentially develop for my FMP collection.
The first shop was Brown Focus on South Molton Street between Bond and Oxford Street. It is known of being one of London’s most popular fashion destinations for the hottest new brands from around the world. As I walked into the shop, the first thing that caught my eye were these black and neon pieces from knitwear brand Tak Ori. Referring back to how fusing sportswear with high fashion seems to be quite popular amongst designers, one of their items that stood out for me the most was their knitted Merino-Alpaca sporty bralet. I predict that there will be high street knock-offs of knitted sports bras some point soon…
Simone Rocha’s garments had some interesting use of neoprene by creating basic shapes and adding ruffles as a design feature. My personal favourite was a black neoprene double breasted coat with frill details on the sleeves. This made me later on during the day collect neoprene fabric samples at Clothhouse, as it got me to consider working with this structural fabric.
NEWGEN designer Ashish use of high octane glamor and stunning craftsmanship, was applied onto his garments creating a fusion of Sportswear, sequins, and more sequins! A pair of his silver sequins booty running shorts will defiantly attract some type of attention to the wearer. I own nothing in sequins but I would totally wear those shorts!
Next stop was Sandro, which was on the same street as Browns Focus. The Parisian brand known for its sleek and sophisticated style incorporated causal wear/sporty clothes in their shop such as a pair pleated drawstring trousers.
After Sandro, we made our way through London to get to Dover Street. On the way however, one of my friends and I ended up being a little too distracted and got left behind at Chanel. In all fairness though, being briefly abandoned at Chanel certainly wasn’t the worst thing in the world that happened to us. Their window display at the inside of the shop looked like a christmas couture winter wonderland! Its no wonder we got distracted….
Once we were able to catch up with the rest of the group, we made it to Dover Street and headed to Victoria Beckham. Ruffles and pleats seems to be making a comeback in fashion, as these design features were apparent on VB’s clothes. And it had a really cool upside down Christmas tree to get into the holiday spirit. I ended up buying one of VB’s AIDS charity pins to donate for a good cause, plus it was the only thing I was able to afford in her shop…
Across the street from Victoria Beckham was Dover Street Market. Similar to Browns Focus, it is another retailer that stocks the latest designer pieces. I ended up stumbling upon my best finding of the day, which was this insane Alexander Wang V-neck dress with shoe lace embroidery. From a distance the garment just looks like a stylized print. However once you look closely enough, you can see and appreciate its craftmanship.
After venturing around Dover Street Market, some of us decided to visit Swedish brand Acne Studios that was in the same area. In terms of fabrication finishing, I was drawn to their chunky silver two way zippers on their coats. It made me consider that I should perhaps use those kind of zips, when designing my own outerwear pieces.
Dior even jumped on the band wagon of incorporation sportswear features onto some of their high end garments. One of their dresses from their current A/W ready-to-wear 14 collection had an adjustable shoe lace on the side seam.
Last but not least, we went over to the Y3 store. The Yohji Yamamoto brand with Adidas has successful fusing eastern inspired fashion with activewear luxury for the past decade. Their fur knit coat has a relaxed kimono shape done in a fluffy mohair like knit. Combining fur and knit was a popular feature in their current A/W 14 collection.
After we were done with our retail analysis and collecting fabric samples from fabric shops, we walked through Oxford Street to appreciate the bright lights and beautiful Christmas decorations that make the city looked like a stunning winter wonderland. Even though I’ve been to London so many times, I still couldn’t help it and act like a tourist taking pictures walking through one of the worlds busiest shopping street. It was perfect way to end a productive day.