Class of 2019

Meet the new LFWM designers looking to shake up the schedule
By Emma Pradella | Fashion | 1 January 2019

Top image: Mowalola Ogunlesi / photography by Ruth Ossai

As London Fashion Week Men’s approaches, this season’s schedule boasts a group of fresh faces new to the line-up. 

Here, we introduce the names, inspirations and ideas behind new additions, C2H4, Studio Alch and Delada as well as Fashion East’s newly-revealed designers Mowalola Ogunlesi and Robyn Lynch. From chemistry-meets-sports luxe to repurposed Nike garments, Post-Soviet Russia, and Lagos’ petrol-heads, meet the designers ready to shake up the LFWM schedule. 


Initially launched by Soho store Machine-A as an exclusive collaborative capsule collection, London-based Delada evolves around its creative director Lada Komarova’s memories of native Russia and the country’s collective narrative during the break up of the Soviet Union. “Growing up in Soviet Moscow, I remember as a little girl patiently waiting for my grandmother to leave the flat so I could secretly open and rummage through our family’s ‘Grandma’s Trunk’, a large trunk full of family heirlooms, uniforms, and special outfits,” says Komarova. “I remember playing dress-up with whatever I could find in the trunk, trying on oversized shirts and military uniform jackets and mixing them with skirts, baggy trousers and whatever else I could find.”

Delada was born from Komarova’s early fashion experiments with these pieces, and more so from the idea of a young DIY spirit that characterised the Soviet Union fashion rebels who would use clothing to break from the system. “With limited standard communist-designed clothes and garments it meant that identical and often rather bland but practical clothes were worn by millions of people all over the Soviet Union. I – as many young people would do – didn’t want to conform to this prescribed fashion look and had to start to think outside the box,” she recalls. “The solution was to create home-made pieces of clothes from cutting up existing clothes and putting together different styles of clothes that were not meant to be worn together.”

For the brand’s upcoming collection – and LFWM debut – Komarova drew inspiration from Dostoyevsky’s Notes from the Underground as well as Russian contemporary artists Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, with a particular focus on their exhibition entitled We Are Living Here. Of the collection, Komarova says she wants to bring the audience on a trip down memory lane: “I want them to be able to have a glance into my memoirs and cultural upbringing, and also share with them my positive and very personal emotions from these bittersweet times,” she says. “The looks, and especially individual style elements I have incorporated in this collection bring me back to these times personally.”

Delada’s FW19 show is on Monday, 7th January at 15:30.

Gallery: Delada SS19



After staging its first off-schedule presentation in 2018, Alexandra Hackett’s Studio Alch is set to debut on-schedule in January. The Australia-native has been producing one-off reconstructed garments made of Nike wardrobe staples – with the brand’s stamp of approval – for the past five years, reinterpreting classic duffle bags and sports socks into more intricate sportswear looks.

The collaboration between Hackett and Nike was first launched in 2017, when she was selected as one of twelve international creatives to take part in the sportswear brand’s Vote Forward Campaign and design their own Air Max. From then, they’ve worked on a series of joint projects, and the Nike swoosh also took centre-stage at Studio Alch’s SS19 collection. “I’ve always been interested in chindogu, which is a non-conventional Japanese art form that focuses on the creation of useless but seemingly useful inventions,” she says of the starting point for her SS19 designs. “I was interested in the idea of practicality and making a product so functional that it’s almost unfunctional.”

Developing around hyper-functionality, a recurring theme throughout her work, Hackett’s SS19 collection catered to the streetwear and Nike-obsessed, including track jackets, sweatpants and bucket hats covered in chunky eyelids, trousers with velcro fastenings and Nike-approved garments that included a skirt made entirely of the sportswear giant’s repurposed branded lanyards. The process of re-purposing sportswear staples led Hackett to think about sustainability: “I’m really interested in processes that enable the extension of the lifespan of a garment,” she says, “whether that is through the reconstruction of pre-existing products or through using pattern-cutting and design techniques to minimise waste.”

While her garments are being snapped up by rappers and grime artists including Kendrick Lamar and UK-based Skepta and Stormzy, the designer says functionality and practicality is something she’ll continue to explore through her upcoming FW19 collection, as the brand looks “towards heightening the process of the daily commute from a purely practical viewpoint.”

Studio Alch’s FW19 show is on Sunday, 6th January at 12:30.

Gallery: Studio Alch SS19 



Take a look at C2H4 past collections, and one thing is clear: the Los Angeles-based brand takes a uniquely scientific approach to their fashion – after all, the name of the brand itself is the chemical compound for ethylene.

Hailing from Shanghai, founder Yixi Chen moved to LA to study film and television production in 2011. “I never thought that I would ever be doing fashion or even be a designer as a kid,” she says. “During the years of middle school and high school I was pretty interested in science, especially in physics and chemistry.” 

This interest in science has translated throughout C2H4’s previous collections: for FW17 – realised in collaboration with Kappa – the brand drew inspiration from human health and free spirits, as well as non-corrosive substances, while this year, C2H4 joined forces with Japanese streetwear label Number (N)ine and designed a capsule collection that combined the chemical logarithmic scale pH (potential of Hydrogen) with humans’ perception of ego. While last year’s FW18 collection, System on Carbon, saw the designer explore the idea that human beings are like computers: reflecting on the system of a chip circuit, which integrates all parts of computers and electronic device systems, Chen went on to think how DNA and bodies are made of carbon, and therefore of nucleobases and binary numbers. “This leads to questions that are more philosophical: maybe human beings are just a different type of machine that someone else created? And how will the forthcoming systems look like in that case?” she says. Combining human touch and C2H4’s cyber technicality, the hybrid silhouettes were inspired by electronic devices. Multi-pocketed utilitarian gilets, padded jackets, relaxed tailoring and bucket hats featured elements such as keyboard buttons and data cables, as well as technical prints and an ‘ATCG’ stitching, which stands for the four bases of the human DNA, throughout.

For her upcoming collection, titled FM-2030, Chen reflects on the concept of time as a new currency. Drawing inspiration from the 20th century trans-humanist view of the future, and particularly from the work of American-Iranian author and philosopher Fereidoun M. Esfandiary, a leading voice in Transhumanism, the pursuit of using science and technology to transcend our biological limitations. Here, Chen will take us to a post-human era, where humans run against time to avoid having their memory erased. “This would be a time in which the concept of social class is re-defined by the amount of memory everyone has left,” says Chen. “With this collection, we want to discuss how technology will change social relationships and morality in the near future.”

C2H4’s FW19 show is on Sunday, 6th January at 10:00.

Gallery: C2H4 SS19



Joining the Fashion East line-up – which drops the MAN from its name this year – this season are Nigerian designer Mowalola Ogunlesi and Ireland-native Robyn Lynch.

Ogunlesi, who was born and grew up in Lagos but is now based in London, graduated from Central Saint Martins last year. Her graduate collection, entitled Psychedelic, was a nod to the Nigerian psychedelic rock of the 70s and 80s, and the sense of community she experienced while growing up in the Nigerian capital. Psychedelic was a celebration of the African male – accompanying tie-dye, printed leather trousers, jackets baring the models’ chest and midriff, and huge bags are outsized headlights, which Ogunlesi used to pay homage to Lagos’ bikers – Okadas – and buses – Danfos.

Mowalola Ogunlesi SS19

Robyn Lynch will also be among this year’s additions, completing the Fashion East menswear trio with Mowalola and returning designer Stefan Cooke. After studying Printed Textiles at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin, Lynch went on to intern for London-based Cottweiler and Phoebe English, and recently completed her MA in Menswear at Westminster. Inspired by her dad’s old photos, and by archival imagery found at the Raidió Teilifís Éireann, Ireland’s national public service broadcaster, her graduate collection was an epitome of Irish pride set in a patriotic colour palette of green, white and orange, while silhouettes combined past and present: classic knits inspired by those worn by Irish farmers were juxtaposed to contemporary, dynamic sportswear looks. To see what Lynch has planned for her debut on-schedule LFWM collection, standby for Fashion East’s FW19 show on 6th January.

Gallery: Robyn Lynch SS19 graduate collection


Fashion East’s FW19 show is on Sunday, 6th January at 19:00.

Stay tuned for our full LFWM coverage.

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