Techno gear hits the superhighway

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Indy Lifestyle Online
The year 2000 might sound a long way off, but dress-rehearsals for the millennium are well under way among British menswear designers. The best of them were showing their autumn '95 collections to buyers at the SEHM trade fair in Paris last week and in place of "the English style" of tweeds, chunky knits and sensible suits, things looked shiny, shiny, shiny.

Fabrics including nylon, PVC and the most advanced polyesters are being used for clothes that might reasonably be expected to appear in sturdy wools and fine worsteds. Take Nick Ashley's tuxedo, for instance. A son of Laura Ashley might have been expectedto turn out a refined suit in a traditional woollen cloth, but this red satin-lined, three-button tuxedo is in a slippery, shiny, power-stretch polyester - lightweight, breathable (for those sweaty dancefloor moments) and cardigan-soft enoug h to wear on a motorbike on the way to that black-tie function. And once a glass of champagne has been thrown at it, it goes straight into the washing machine and will drip-dry to its previously perfect shape.

Sitting alongside Squire's collection of traditional and re-coloured covert coats is the somewhat more incongruous, but totally practical version in nylon, while Byrne, based in London's Covent Garden, gave suits a futuristic glam look in silver PVC and added useful mobile-phone pockets on the sleeves of bomber jackets.

Hi-energy, hi-performance, hi-tech. Clothes for tomorrow, says Jeff Griffin, of Griffin Laundry, are for urban living - for humans who believe function is just as important as aesthetics. And now the cyberpunks, phreakers and net-surfers, all hungry for interactive global information, will be able to access Griffin's world of techno-nylons, neon-knits and micro-fibre combat jackets as the company's complete collection hits the digital highways.

On 9 February, Griffin becomes the first fashion label (in the UK at least) to be available on the Internet. An interactive browser service, it will offer information on current and future collections - every garment in every colourway can be seen - while allowing users to leave messages and constructive criticism simultaneously. Access Griffin on the