Fashion is for real men, too!

London's first Men's Fashion Week leaves Matthew Bell dazzled by bright colours and worried about the fixation with shorts

Men in shorts are standing outside a pub. It must be the football. Except these men are also wearing jackets and sharp Shoreditch haircuts, and their shorts are made of tweed. And they're not holding pints, but swarming out of London's Hospital Club, where a catwalk show by Martine Rose has just finished. A fashion blogger is taking pictures of almost everyone. He lets me through untroubled.

I've come to London Men's Fashion Week. Apparently, it's the first one ever, which is odd as it feels as if it's always fashion week. And I'm sure there's usually plenty of menswear, if that's the right term for the PVC bin bags and neon-orange jumpsuits in which those lantern-jawed models strut down catwalks. But while menswear has always been part of London Fashion Week, this is the first event just for menswear. It's as if Uefa had announced a European Championship just for women, though not quite as absurd. Or is it?

As a young urban professional and a man, I'm clearly the target audience. Except, today, I'm teaming egg-stained corduroy with a shirt that used to be white. My bike helmet has left its usual red mark across my forehead. But I'm not heading for the catwalk, but into the hub, where you can meet the designers and their clothes at first hand.

Joseph Turvey is a young graduate of the London College of Fashion. His screen-printed T-shirts are inspired by David Attenborough's jungle days: they have bright floral prints with heat-reacted leaves, and the cool thing is that the colour fades as you get hot. "Like Eighties rave clothes, though not in the armpit area." I try on a pink pyjama suit – with shorts, of course – and try to think of an occasion when I might wear it. The Leveson inquiry?

But worrying about when you might wear these outlandish designs is to miss the point. Fashion is all about fantasy and fearlessness and fun. It's about letting your imagination run wild and seeing what happens. How else to explain the panda bear balaclavas and green tissue-paper Mohicans? But some of this stuff is actually rather sensible. Like the raincoats over at Hancock. This is a new British label making traditional raincoats. It set up in January and opened its Cumbernauld factory in March. The coats come in sensible colours such as taupe and black, as well as green and yellow, but I'm sensing pink is on trend this season, as I'm pointed to the "Honeysuckle pink" number. Not so keen on the £800 price tag. Does anybody actually pay that?

Apparently yes. But this show isn't really for punters. It's for buyers, designers and journalists. It's about getting ideas out there that gradually trickle down to the high street. And, as Hancock's co-founder Gary Bott reassures me, you don't have to be loaded to be fashionable. "Sophisticated male consumers start to refine their tastes, and, really, you only need one Savile Row suit. You only need one pair of leather shoes, made in Northampton perhaps, and you only need one watch and one coat." It's not what you usually hear from fashionistas, who guilt you out for not keeping up with the seasons.

I move on to Dashing Tweeds. This is more my thing: fogeyish fabrics with a modern twist. Founders Kirsty McDougall and Guy Hills explain how their tweeds are designed not to blend in with rural landscapes, but urban ones. So there's a wool in pavement grey, with a double yellow lines pattern. Some even have light-reflective weaves, designed for cyclists. Hmm, I could be persuaded to shell out on one of these suits. If only the bottom half wasn't shorts.

Arts & Entertainment
The Honesty Policy is a group of anonymous Muslims who believe that the community needs a space to express itself without shame or judgement
music
News
Waitrose will be bringing in more manned tills
newsOverheard in Waitrose: documenting the chatter in 'Britain's poshest supermarket'
Life & Style
life
Arts & Entertainment
Back in the suit: There are only so many variations you can spin on the lives or adventures of Peter Parker
filmReview: Almost every sequence and set-up in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 seems familiar from some earlier superhero film
VIDEO
Arts & Entertainment
Jack Gleeson as Joffrey Baratheon in Game of Thrones
tv
Life & Style
Father and son: Michael Williams with son Edmund
lifeAs his son’s bar mitzvah approaches, CofE-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys he’s experienced in learning about his family’s other faith
Arts & Entertainment
Ian Anderson, the leader of British rock band Jethro Tull, (right) and British guitar player Martin Barre (left) perform on stage
musicJethro Tull frontman leads ‘prog rock’ revival
Sport
Gareth Bale dribbled from inside his own half and finished calmly late in the final to hand Real a 2-1 win at the Mestalla in Valencia
sport
Arts & Entertainment
Who laughs lass: Jenny Collier on stage
comedy... writes Jenny Collier, the comedian whose recent show was cancelled because there were 'too many women' on the bill
News
House proud: keeping up with the Joneses now extends to children's playhouses
newsLuxury playhouses now on the market for as much as £800
News
news
Life & Style
Stir it up: the writer gets a lichen masterclass from executive chef Vivek Singh of the Cinnamon restaurants
food + drinkLichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines
Extras
indybest
Arts & Entertainment
Ken Loach (left) and Mike Leigh who will be going head to head for one of cinema's most coveted prizes at this year's Cannes Film Festival
filmKen Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
News
The academic, Annamaria Testa, has set out on her website a list of 300 English words that she says Italians ought to stop using
newsAcademic speaks out against 'Italianglo' - the use of English words in Italian language
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Apprentice IT Technician

    £150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...

    1st Line Technical Service Desk Analyst IT Apprentice

    £153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...

    1st Line Helpdesk Engineer Apprentice

    £150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...

    Sales Associate Apprentice

    £150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...

    Day In a Page

    How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

    How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

    Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
    Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

    British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

    The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
    Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

    Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

    Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
    A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

    A History of the First World War in 100 moments

    A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
    Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

    Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

    The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
    Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

    Cannes Film Festival

    Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
    The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

    The concept album makes surprise top ten return

    Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
    Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

    Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

    Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
    10 best baking books

    10 best baking books

    Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
    Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

    Jury still out on Pellegrini

    Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
    Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

    Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

    The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
    Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

    Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

    The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
    Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

    Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

    As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
    Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

    Mad Men returns for a final fling

    The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
    Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

    Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

    Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit