While British press at London Collections: Men love to feel patriotic and pat ourselves on the back for producing the most innovative menswear designers, deep down we all know it's Asia that's really pushing the young talent. It's the Asian buyers who put their money where their mouths are and take a punt on youth and the Japanese press who have the confidence to sport the new silhouettes and shapes that are dominating the runways but haven't quite filtered down onto our streets yet. So it's apt and commercially savvy that Astrid Andersen - a designer who's popular with these more experimental shoppers in new markets - dedicated her S/S 15 collection to Japan, drawing inspiration from the rituals and ceremonies of Sumo. Creatively it was also a winning plan. Proportions felt fresh and the palette of rich sunset hues was a crowd-pleaser.
Andersen makes clothes for a generation that loves to show off. It's a new kind of peacocking that centres on the need to flaunt your swag and unapologetically broadcasting your logos on Instagram, blogs or Tumblr. Subtlety doesn't appeal to this kind of shopper. Andersen is smart enough to give her guys enough distractions to keep them happy - billowing kimonos, logo-ed sweaters and street style friendly prints - but never prioritises gimmicks over good ideas; something that's worth applauding given that thought and a point of view can be surprisingly lacking amongst her fellow sweatpant-mongers.
The complexity of Andersen, and the brilliance that marks her out from the rest of the trackpant and t-shirt brigade, comes in her interest in unpicking and explaining the gender ideas of her shopper and the new brand of masculinity that's driving her category. Her clothes speak to a generation of men but also turn the mirror on them. They say that masculinity doesn't mean a rejection of femininity and softness. And they say that power can still be colourful, fluid and even sensual. But then that's Andersen herself isn't it, quietly confident and calmly strong? We've all known she's one to watch for a while now, but this season hammered that home.