Weather the Storm
Brave the great outdoors this season with ultra-functional utility wear and trek-ready gear with a fashion-forward edge, as imagined by London’s menswear elite
The catwalk might not be the trickiest terrain, but this season’s collections were full of trek-inspired pieces perfect for treacherous territory. Think thermo- reactive puffer jackets, burnished silver windbreakers, waist-fastened backpacks and hi-vis panelled cargo pants. A palpable energy of resistance and adventure spelled defiance in the face of what continues to be a turbulent cultural and political climate.
Samuel Ross’ burgeoning empire A-COLD-WALL* debuted industrial- style uniform staples at his National Gallery ROOM-1* AW18 show, against a backdrop of brutalist steel, iron and concrete. Boiled hand-threaded wools and multi-pocket nylon vests were paired with paint-splattered wellington boots, marking ‘a real push for a utilitarian feel,’ says Ross. Within the halls of the Earth’s Treasure Gallery at the Natural History Museum, rare gemstones and rocks illuminated Cottweiller’s reflective sportswear for its AW18 show. On this occasion, designers Ben Cottrell and Matthew Dainty pulled inspiration from a caving expedition they embarked on in Slovenia, showcasing shoes that appeared to be encrusted by stalactites alongside shiny grey puffer jackets and cross-body harnesses in luminous yellow. Meanwhile, Kim Jones marked his departure from Louis Vuitton with a spectacular finale that boasted hefty lace-up hiking boots and monogram leggings worn under knee-length shorts.
As streetwear and athleisure garments continue to pervade the high fashion market, boosting luxury personal goods sales by five per cent to an estimated $309 billion in 2017 (as reported by the Business of Fashion), this new shift into weather- proof essentials is a further example of menswear broadening its remit beyond suit and tie formalities.
‘Like Normcore, trek gear is very accessible to everyone. It’s easy to digest for the fashion- forward and the everyday man alike,’ says Safiya Yekwai, a London-based stylist who counts rappers Stormzy and Kojey Radical as her clients."I feel the idea of functionality is something men often look for in fashion so it makes sense that this is a trend that they would gravitate to"
Old school trek gear in particular, a former staple of suburban dads, boasts major cool points if worn with a knowing wink. Just look to Martine Rose’s tongue-in-cheek SS18 collection, where dad shorts, calf-length socks and chunky sneakers reigned supreme – later styled with the designer’s favourite archive pieces in her AW18 lookbook. All in all it seems that the forecast for 2018 is stormy fronts, high winds and rain. Thankfully, London’s design heavyweights have us covered.