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The Highlights of London Fashion Week Men's Fall 2019

In the kick-off to two straight months of fashion, designers mixed Instagram-worthy hype with social statements.
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Will this collection inspire people to once again walk around glued to their phones in order to find rare creatures? For Fall 2019, Bobby Abley took inspiration from Pokémon, which much like other '90s cultural fixtures has experienced a revival in the past few years. Nods to the video game franchise included Pokéball bags, Charmander print, and logomania, and for the finale, a life-sized Pikachu (which is recognizable from viral internet dancing videos) waddled down the runway. Finally, fans will have the luxury merch they need to catch 'em all.

Women's suits have long been common as a statement against the gendered clothing binary, but it seems there's finally a serious push to expand what's acceptable for menswear, too. Skirts were all over London, highlighting a plethora of ways to rock the trend, from plaid maxi skirts at Craig Green to '60s-inspired miniskirts at Charles Jeffrey Loverboy. Iceberg had a particularly revolutionary approach, dressing muscular models in patchwork skirts and athletic accessories to show a skirt doesn't only mean embracing your softer side. To achieve true equality of acceptable dress, it's important to embrace skirts' versatility beyond traditionally feminine aesthetics, and this season shows perhaps the most promising attempt at this so far.

Samuel Ross got his start under Virgil Abloh at Off-White, but since founding A-Cold-Wall* in 2015, the designer has made statements all his own. His brand explores issues within the working class, and for Fall 2019, Ross created a full-blown show about the refugee crisis. The looks, featuring graph paper, ruler details, and life-jacket orange, will fit right in with Instagrammable streetwear, but in the exhibition, they told a story alongside performers in water, a tough Rottweiler, and a finale of Ross carrying his infant daughter. Any hype-obsessed teens who got in walked away with a more thought-provoking experience than some may have expected.

Craig Green always has an artsy statement, and this season, he chose to offer his take on plastic. The material is a hot topic as the world tries to slow the progression of climate change, but Green gave one of its most common forms new life. A section of his show, which explored the strength within a man of glass, featured trash bag ensembles in shades of pink, red, blue, and green, resembling sweaters and ruched pieces with their details. Some may make this a meme (literally wearing trash bags calls for that in the internet world) while others will directly connect it to climate commentary, but Green ultimately shows how craft can transform seemingly mundane materials.

For Fall 2019, Charles Jeffrey took his love for theatrics and queer identity and turned it into social commentary. In a balloon-filled space much resembling the aftermath of a party, ballgown-clad club kids referenced Weimar-era Berlin while models in tiny, drawstring hoodies with animal ears looked like an overgrown version of Peter Pan's Lost Boys. Mixing a campy innocence with the absent-yet-present knowledge of what happened next in Germany, Jeffrey used his collection to highlight modern attacks on the queer and disabled communities amidst far-right movements. 

Her show invite was a plastic bag with the instructions "Please place phone here," so Paria Farzaneh's show was naturally going to offer some sort of commentary on technology. Ultimately, it was a look at repetition and the need to post everything on social media, and models rolled out on a conveyor belt, taking selfies and filming the audience. Mixed with clothing referencing Fazaneh's Iranian heritage, the show displayed how the internet creates an unsatisfying cycle that distracts from the beauty of being present.

A self-described "humanoid-wear" designer, Xander Zhou presented a fascinating yet unsettling view of the future for Fall 2019. The collection heavily referenced evolution, both through furry suits and by continuing last season's pregnant men by having them carry babies. Clothing comprised mostly wearable street looks in an arrange of neutrals, but the internet is more likely to remember moments such as the yeti parent, pictured here.

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