There was a time when to make it in fashion you had to be in either New York, London, Paris or Milan. Honestly, that’s still the case; except now there are a few more cities that offer viable careers in fashion, for example, Sydney, Seoul. The options are still limited. Most Irish designers leave the country to study, train and work in London; English designers too, choose to part their city in favour of the capital. As an aspiring journalist, I realise that London or New York will eventually beckon. The rigidity of the entire fashion industry will hopefully be challenged, to offer a more democratic approach to the rapidly growing industry.
Christopher Shannon referenced the “Comfort and Horror” of his hometown, Liverpool. There’s the comfort of growing up at whichever geographical location you do, and how that swathes you in a virtually invincible security blanket. But then comes the horror—the impossibility of succeeding in that place.
It must be easy for designers, when you they have succeeded, to look back at the realities of their hometowns, as Shannon has done here. The man in this collection was inspired by his babysitter’s boyfriends. Flavouring the collection with his chutzpah was a given: the models wore patchwork shirts, short shorts, thick fleece jackets, sporty bombers, parkas, plastic raincoats, joggers and sweaters. Punctuated with white Reeboks, the collection was an ode the easily readable Liverpudlian male, from late teens to mid-twenties.
90s experimentalism was at the core of this collection’s spirit. A pink turtleneck half-zip was styled with a bomber jacket, blue jeans and Reeboks. The same can be said for the summery shorts that showed up. It captures the generation that Shannon grew up surrounded by. It’s also reflective of what’s happening in men’s fashion today. These are the clothes that men really wear: bombers, shirts, jeans. The 90s experimentalist aesthetic is returning, and thankfully there’re honest portrayals of it out there—like this.
They say to write what you know; designing what you know is similar. The Shannon man isn’t the figment of the designer’s imagination, he’s a very much real entity. He’ll be brave enough to wear upper-thigh-grazing shorts during the summer months, but he’s also fond of tracksuit bottoms and bomber jackets, and not afraid to wear bubblegum pastels and loud brights. Chances are, you probably know a Christopher Shannon man. And he’s not limited to New York, London, Paris or Milan.
Photo Credit: voguerunway.com