Home-grown heroes: Refreshing stand-out menswear

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A month of international menswear shows begins today in London and there’s plenty to get excited about

Until recently, London’s menswear designers – be they traditional Savile Row tailors, street-wear supremos or connoisseurs of the contemporary casual – had to make do with a single day tacked on to the end of London Fashion Week.

Those that showed suffered from being seen by buyers who’d already spent the majority of their budgets at the same season’s earlier outings in Paris, Milan and Florence. Last June changed all that though, as the British Fashion Council’s menswear committee forced the world to sit up and take notice with a stand-alone event. Today sees the first of three days of catwalk shows, static presentations, events and appointments dawning as London looks forward to autumn/winter 13.

Undoubtedly, one of the biggest draws is Alexander McQueen, which opened a menswear flagship in Savile Row in October and has been tempted from its usual slot on the Milan schedule to celebrate. A less established name in tailoring, but one that has built a strong following since its launch in 2008 is Mr Start, the label from Philip Start, the Shoreditch stalwart who presides over a mini-empire of boutiques in London’s East End.

Richard Nicoll’s menswear debut in June, all butter-soft blue leather and optical white sportswear, was a refreshing stand-out of the season, while Jonathan Saunders’ primary colour honeycomb prints created a buzz worthy of the designer recently named Menswear Emerging Talent at the British Fashion Awards.

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