Fashion East Goes Co-Ed
Fashion East, London's favourite fashion talent incubator, have made the decision to combine their womenswear and menswear shows into one from February for A/W 20. The non-profit initiative founded by Lulu Kennedy has always favoured a non-conformist approach, picking young designers straight out of design school and giving them a global platform. Marking their twentieth year with a co-ed show, Fashion East plan to leave their January MAN show behind them.
Fashion East traditionally presents three designers each season for womens and mens (MAN). Each designer usually shows with them for three seasons, with Kim Jones, Art School and Simone Rocha being but a few to have passed through the doors of their offices in the Old Truman Brewery. In an industry which in recent years has been moving towards a more relaxed understanding of gender, the move makes sense for the London-based initiative. Kennedy tells us that going co-ed is only natural, Fashion East has never been too concerned with gender: 'At Fashion East, we’ve never been concerned with standard gender rules on the catwalk, so it is natural for us and the progressive designers we support to make this format switch up at the start of our 20th year.' Indeed Fashion East has been the spring-board for much of London's queer fashion, with Art School first finding their feet on the Fashion East catwalk. The initiative has long been at the forefront of breaking boundaries with Fashion East MAN credited as launching London Fashion Week Mens, a legacy they now leave behind them as they move towards something bigger and better.
Five chosen designers will now showcase their work together in February and September. The line-up for A/W 20 sees Ancuta Sarca return with her upcycled Nike trainer kitten heels alongside menswear designer Saul Nash and experimental mens and womenswear designer Gareth Wrighton. Central Saint Martins graduates Nensi Dojaka (womenswear) and GOOMHEO (menswear)- who launched an exclusive capsule with MACHINE-A in September- are set to join them for their fashion week debut. Together they form a unit which Kennedy says '...perfectly represent[s] the talent, freedom and community we are so proud to work with' Fashion East’s decision draws attention to the on-going need to redefine fashion’s traditionally strict gender boundaries. By challenging the fashion week format, it is a stirring move spelling out an exciting future.