Shaun Samson brought a lighter touch to his signature oversized streetwear for S/S 14. Girly floaty chiffon shirts in pink and dove grey, left open to flutter as the models stomped down the runway, preluded heavily beaded pieces that glistened in the light, giving the illusion of the models being covered in post-workout sweat, apt given that Samson is all about sportswear.
Some critics would say that this showcase wasn't fresh or challenging enough - but those kind of criticisms can be London's downfall. There comes a point when designers have to move their brand forward rather than push their aesthetic into new, uncertain territories just to grab column inches. Samson owns streetwear, he's been turning out that oversized look with more confidence than anyone else, so it's appropriate that he seemed to be using this time to mull over how to take his brand forward and make sales, rather than getting drawn into competition with other designers on the schedule. He certainly seemed to be feeling assured in his abilities and talent - almost every look featured his name somewhere, whether on wristbands, lurex sweaters, towels or boxer waistbands. Unsusprising really, given that this is the same designer who once shaved his name into the back of his models' hair.
Branding has been a big theme on the S/S 14 runways. Many young designers, from James Long to Christopher Shannon, have sent out pieces emblazoned with their name or logo. Perhaps it's an natural tendency given how obsessed this generation is with self promotion - see our addiction to Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. It's also very apt given the attitudes of the fashion icons who have driven and inspired the streetwear craze that is ruling London - Kanye West, ASAP Rocky and the like. Those guys pride themselves on their astounding ability to pontificate. But to see a small designer like Samson, who's yet to cultivate a mass appeal, emblazon his clothing with his name with the same gusto as Gap feels ironic. Is he suggesting that, like an iconic brand, people would buy his pieces because of the name alone, rather than the strength of the cut and craftsmanship? Maybe. Either way the branding certainly proves he has an ambitious view of the reach and relevance of his lable, but what's the problem with that? As the Kenzo duo proved, get the fashion pack to do your promotion for you by sporting your logo across their chests and eventually you'll be raking it in.