I hate men’s fashion week - there I said it! I should love it... the exciting shows, the street style and the never ending supply of fashion students wearing a bum bag across body - what’s not to love, right? I have visited LFWM, as it’s called now, and many of its previous incarnations, many times - gradually it has become very palpably desperate. All those Central St Martins kids know that a simple bum bag won’t get the street styles photographers flashes flashing and this season saw a whole new level of desperation dressing. Men’s fashion week used to be about seeking out quality style and the well dressed sartorial men that frequented it had some style about them, now it’s has descended into a cesspit of narcissism and controversial dressing.
Of course if you don’t subscribe to the narcissism or care much for being photographed pretending to be on the phone whilst wearing the most ridiculous outfit you could muster; you can have a much more pleasant time at LFWM. There is still some serious style to consume and I do always like to get inspired for the season ahead by my designers of choice. This is why I wanted to see if I could cheat London Fashion Week Men’s. Could I pass as suitably stylish on a shoe string budget and demonstrate you don’t need to shop at avant guard boutiques or wait 3 months for shipping of unknown brands from Japan? Could I prove you don’t need to spend entire weekends rummaging in vintage shops and hours customising to make an impact?
So now I had set out my mission statement for my LFWM I needed to get my looks... I wanted to prove to myself (and everyone else) fashion could be affordable and LFWM worthy. I decided to set a limit of £50 for each day for my total look (except footwear because I believe very strongly footwear can not be bought on a shoe string). I’m not adverse to a bargain by any means and I really wanted to see if discount retailers would help me demystify the belief fashion needs to be expensive.
My first point of call was Peacocks, a shop I knew existed but had never until now ventured into. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised, whilst the offer was basic the quality seemed great for the price. I opted for a denim shirt at just £14 a black hoody and joggers which were £10 and £5 respectively. I’d noticed a lot of Topman clad teens doing a cap with a hood over the top so I picked up a black cap for just £2 which I thought would give me some fashion week flare! Overall Peacocks had a solid collection of basic menswear and if you want some cheap basics it’s defo somewhere I’d say you should check out. If like me you mix it up you can get a pretty eclectic and stylish look for Peacocks.
Primark was my next point of call. We all know a bargain can be had here but I must say it’s menswear has really improved of late. The suiting section held some really cool casual lightweight suits which came with jogger style hybrid trouser - cool enough for fashion week and in budge at £42 pound for the blazer and jogger hybrid things, a simple T at £2 completed my look. This was my favourite budget look by far and something I would actually wear in the real world for sure. A word of warning - primark put everything on hangers with sizes on but quite often the garments hanging on the hanger bear no correlation to the size stated on the hanger, I learnt this the hard way.
At fashion week the experience in budget clothing was new to me, I had previously succumbed to its pressures and considered wearing a ski mask as legitamate eyewear and trying to make croks stylish by pairing they with a sports sock and adorning them in healing crystals, neither of these nothings should be considered stylish or even sane behaviour. Whilst I had never gone to these extremes I had made sure I was in my best wares and my wardrobe does on occasion provide me with some pretty adventurous designer looks. Budget dressing is sort of like doing your food shop in Lidl, it works out a lot cheaper but it does take a little longe to get right and you might pick up some random stuff just because, well, they were cheap and when they were gone they were gone.
The third day saw me return back to my usual attire which and my inside breathed a sigh of fashion relief. Whilst the experience taught me that fashion doesn’t have a price tag sometimes there’s no better feeling than that crazy expensive cashmere sweater you went into your overdraft for.