This past week, the British Fashion Council put on London Collections Men, and it’s either the official or unofficial kickoff of the Summer’s menswear fashion calendar depending on which attendee you’re trying to blow. For established global brands and emerging menswear designers, it’s a chance to showcase their latest and greatest for the fashion world. For me, it’s an opportunity to lampoon the shit out of their hard work behind the veil of a computer screen and from the comfort of a pair of year-old joggers. Here we go.
From the beautiful minds that brought you a bunch of torn-out hair tracks from a World Star Hip Hop cat fight video pinned to mesh shirts comes this collection that looks like one of those art projects where someone paints a bunch of pieces while on different concoctions of hardcore drugs.
First, we got this guy wearing what appears to be one of those quilts your Mom sews out of old t-shirts for you when you graduate high school—except for a kid that didn’t have a single extracurricular activity on his transcript and listened exclusively to Rise Against for four years. The only dope thing about this look is when you’re sitting around bored you can take some Silly Putty, smash it against your leg, and stretch it out like a Sunday comic.
Coming in hot after the guy in the angst-y quilt is this look that can only be described as “Amateur Dirtbike Racer Caught Up In A Color Run.” Seriously, what the hell with the body paint? Did this dude fall off a train while trying to tag it? Or did five of his besties convince him that running a 5k while getting blasted in the face with toxic, colorful, neon dust would be “good for the ‘Gram?”
And if Avatar Blue camouflage pants made out of material that looks like you’re trying to sweat out your weekend water weight exclusively out of your legs aren’t exactly your style, you’ll find comfort in these next pants and their 42-inch leg openings. These pants look like they were pulled straight from the closet of someone who has moshed at an ICP concert. They look like they smell like a discarded vape pen, but to be honest they look comfortable as hell. Unfortunately, this guy is not doing a great job of selling them because it looks like he just remembered he left the oven on all the way back at his Berlin co-op.
TOURNE DE TRANSMISSION
Tourne de Transmission might just be the most menswear-sounding menswear brand name of all time, like it was named using a menswear brand generator that Four Pins has yet to create. The creative director of this somehow-not-French brand says they got their inspiration for this collection from the Kogi tribe, and I trust that’s genuine sartorial inspiration and they didn’t just spin a globe and search “indigenous people” plus whatever country their finger landed on. The Kogi tribe hails from Columbia, yet the first dude looks like he got his hat from a prop box outside of a photo booth at a wedding in North Dakota. Another addition to this look would have been a moustache on a stick, or potentially pants, that way he could hide all the evidence on his knees that he just got done fellating WWF superstar Goldust.
Luckily, the collection got better after the guy who looks like what Haley Joel Osment was supposed to look all grown up in his “Where Are They Now?” photos. The look in the middle almost makes sense, with the high and tight button up and bomber (bomber?) sweater and the pants that have so much crotch room you can Rap Squat™ without ever moose-knuckling. Though I’m not sure how the top of his hat got torched off. I can only imagine he and his partner in crime Marv were trying to break into the home of a Chicago-area family that was vacationing over the Holidays, but their clever son Kevin (who they left home, all alone) had the back door rigged up with a torch that burned it off when he tried to open the door. Tragic.
Finally, we arrive at one of the few looks that I’m genuinely excited about. Tourne de Transmission absolutely unloaded on this one despite facing an 0-2 count. I’d follow this dude in the slightly oversized off-white getup on horseback into whatever tent he led me to at Burning Man and smoke, inject or butt-tampon whatever drugs he put in front of me. This fit is incredible. Consider this guy the Goldilocks of Kogi tribe cowboy hats, from left to right—too gimmicky, too burnt, JUST RIGHT. And I’ll be damned if this guy doesn’t have a nicer head of hair than Jared Leto. Honestly, I’d rather watch this guy sing the chorus of “The Kill” on a computer-generated cliff with an industrial studio fan blowing through that mane. Unf. *collapses seductively into fainting couch*
I’m only focused on my personal brand and therefore wouldn’t consider myself an “expert” when it comes to branding other things, but if you’re going to design a bunch of shit that looks like toddler pajamas that went unsold at TJ Maxx and you just did a SHIFT+corner drag on the designs so they fit adult men and sent it into production you might want to think twice about putting your own damn name on it, Bobby Abley. If I were in London and found myself at this show I’d feel obligated to cook these guys macaroni and cheese with hot dogs and tuck them into their hotel beds at night.
The craziest part is there was probably a meeting where more than one person agreed that one bold pajama look wasn’t enough, so they went beyond the first look, which I’ve dubbed “Astronaut Bedtime Story,” and created the second one, which can only be described as “NYC Subway Map Rough Draft.” Not only does it look like Bill de Blasio rerouted the ACE, 123 and NQRW trains all over this outfit after eating mushrooms, but they made the poor dude wear a backpack, so now it looks like it’s 6pm on Christmas Day and he’s so excited about his new scuba gear that he wants to sleep with it.
Lastly, I had to throw in this third look because I can’t just hammer away on clothes that look like adult pajamas (as Drake would say, “That shit a motherfucking layup.”) From the waist down this dude looks like Floyd Mayweather on the way to SoHo Equinox, purse included. That’s fire. But from the waist up we’re looking at another damn graphic t-shirt. I thought 2016 was going to be the year, in addition to electing our first female president, that we’d stop seeing these at menswear shows and instead leave them to be created by hacks like me on CafePress. And “Super Duper Storm Trooper” sounds like a bio that would make you the most popular bottom on Grindr. I’m done here, Bobby.
It’s refreshing to see Topman’s clothing showcased on a runway, considering their preferred method of display up until now seemed to be a bunch of out-of-season one-offs in sizes Small and Extra Large only, pulled off hangers and strewn over a clearance rack in the basement of their store on Broadway. I imagine everyone was waiting on pins and needles to see what the brand that makes clothes that last two weeks longer than H&M clothes had to offer. The answer? This dude dressed like Woody from Toy Story up and decided to join a biker gang. What the hell is this guy doing? If an editor at Vice wanted a writer to join Hell’s Angels for a week to write an exposé on the biker gang and wanted to choose the person most likely to get killed in the process, he’d pick this guy and dress him in this outfit.
And it’s not like taking off least-convincing motorcycle vest on the planet changes anything, as witnessed by the second model. The only difference here is that instead of khakis tailored for an accountant with the world’s fattest cankles, they chose pants in a color only Steve Harvey could pull off while hosting Family Feud. The only time I'd ever wear this shit is if Jackson Pollock invited me to drunkenly paint in the dark.
Finally, because I can’t possibly talk about the damn fit of these pants anymore, we get to the most offensive menswear shirt you’re going to see all Summer, despite there being like 18 more weeks of shows. I can’t imagine this looking any better than one of those skin-tight shirts that have a fake sleeve of tattoos on it. Honestly, I’d like it more if it were literally one of those. It’s like an Under Armour base layer for someone who still gets amped about collecting stamps. Homeboy looks like he’s a piece of luggage that traveled all around the world for a decade and got a sticker slapped on him at every destination. I bet he could fit a dopp bag in his ass.
Lucas Shanks is a writer, editor and creative in New York City. He’s sorry for approximately 95% of the above. Follow him on Twitter @lucasshanks.