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Show Report

Show Report: Christopher Shannon A/W 15 Menswear

by Lou Stoppard on 10 January 2015

Lou Stoppard reports on the Christopher Shannon A/W 15 menswear show.

Lou Stoppard reports on the Christopher Shannon A/W 15 menswear show.

There's an irony to Christopher Shannon's obsession with ordinary - that being the fact he's extraordinary. The goodwill towards him in London is huge - indeed, just a months back he won the the inaugural British Fashion Council/GQ Designer Menswear Fund giving his label a cash injection of £150,000.

So it's vaguely amusing to see him plastering sweaters in plastic bags and fashioning trousers in the same stripes that appear on those generic ultra-thin plastic bags you're given when you do an emergency cat food run to the corner shop at 11pm on a Thursday night. A sweater marked with a crumpled coke reading 'Broke' when you've just won that much cash? Brave. But you'd be mistaken for thinking Shannon's being brattish or churlish. It's more that the notion of making something out of nothing is his raison de etre and just because he's got more money in the coffers doesn't mean he's going to start showing furs and florals.

This was all about the idea of what we save and what we throw away. What we value and what we disregard. It tapped into the broader, impossible question that constantly floats around fashion - why is something of note, why is something good or worthy? That question was most forcefully posed by the Judy Blame plastic bag hats. They were beautiful but made from nothing - a worthy emblem for a boy done good like Liverpool-born Shannon, a talent who made it despite the huge financial pressures that face modern designers.

Shannon's pushing womenswear at the moment and this had clearly affected his approach. There was a merging of masculine and feminine elements - so frills decorated the hem of sweatshirts, toying with the traditional cummerbund. Shannon was using cut to emphasise the bulk and beef of a man's body, reworking everyday staples - the tracksuit bottom, the bomber, the hoodie - into armour that suggested swelled biceps and bulging thighs.

One of the novelty knits - fast becoming a Shannon signature - came with bag motif reading 'Thanks For Nothing'. It's unlikely that Shannon's feeling ungrateful, so it's probably best to read that as a comment on luxury and a message to an industry that can, at points, seem to value talent so little. As some of Shannon's most brilliant peers - Meadam Kirchhoff, perhaps most notably - drop off the schedule, that questioning of whether the industry is actually genuinely helping or supporting its designers has never felt more pertinent. £150,000 goes a long way but it's a bandaid for a bullet wound when it comes to helping talented creatives survive in this increasingly ferocious, fast-faced paced fashion circus.

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