VINTAGE TRENDS DOMINATE 40 DEGREES
Byline: Caroline Cambridge
LONDON — Retro themes ruled the fall collections at the most recent edition of the 40 Degrees show at East London’s Excel exhibition center.
From Fifties-era frock coats to floral shirts reminiscent of the Seventies, vintage themes were evident throughout the exhibition. Mutiny, a U.K. brand, featured wool jackets in long and short styles with a Fifties’ feel and waterproof cotton button-down dresses with hidden pleats.
Danish brand Junk de Luxe used “Fifties’ pastel colors and Sixties’ designs with a hint of the Seventies” to achieve its urban look, said sales manager Michael Lerche. Women’s fitted shirts in muted stripes and pastel floral shirtdresses are other key elements of its newest collection.
Junk de Luxe’s retro influence is rooted in its beginnings 14 years ago as a second-hand shop. The customized preworn jeans in this season’s collection pay homage to these roots.
“Our clothes are based on retro styles, redesigned and customized,” Lerche said. “We always try to keep that second-hand feel.”
Another brand using vintage fabrics in its collection was a South African company called Fake Capetown showing at 40 Degrees for only the second time. Designer Debbie Amos takes orders from buyers for shipments of skirts or shirts made from fabrics used on garments in older decades and then sources the fabric and makes the garments. Among her offerings were floral knee-length silk skirts with contrasting pockets and waistbands.
No Pain, No Gain, a French brand based in the U.K., had a more Eighties twist, with puff-sleeve striped tops with roses attached and skirts in denim. Another British brand with an Eighties theme was Smasht, which featured T-shirts with cut-off sleeves, graffiti prints and leather roses on the shoulders.
Flowers were evident throughout the exhibition. Arrogant Cat featured a wool sweater with a wool flower adornment among its collection of bright knits, tweeds and frilled gingham skirts. Velvet jackets had floral brooches attached and even the mannequins featured “heads” of flowers.
Also prevalent were printed tops and T-shirts in a variety of styles. Post offered red, white and black vests with graphic prints, with matching cushions and bags, while LTDE showed a number of vests with frilly shoulder details. Hussy had black T-shirts with sayings such as “I must not be rude” in silver studs, and T-Chest showed long-sleeve T-shirts with cartoons printed on them.
Nuflo, a one-year-old New York brand, brought its street-influenced photo print Ts to the European market for the first time.
The show also featured a mix of more established brands, such as French Connection, Boxfresh and Fornarina, and younger, smaller labels like Alphanumeric, Mutiny and No Pain, No Gain. There were 140 new names in all.
There were some mixed reactions from buyers and exhibitors as to the show’s new venue, mostly because of the traffic problems encountered getting to the site from Central London. Show organizer Emap Fashion transferred its four trade shows — 40 Degrees, Level Two, Pure and Premier — to the new Excel center this season.
In August 2000, three of the shows, 40 Degrees, Level Two and Pure, were located together in London at the Earl’s Court Exhibition Center, while Premier Womenswear remained at the NEC, a convention center in Birmingham. Emap with the move said it hoped to encourage more overseas buyers, since Excel is close to the City Airport, which services the U.K. and Europe.
Lucy McPhail, event manager for 40 Degrees and Level 2, said: “Buyers are increasingly buying men’s and women’s wear, so the reaction to putting everything together has been really good.”
Nonetheless, a spokeswoman for Arrogant Cat felt that there were fewer overseas buyers at 40 Degrees than last season, and some exhibitors said having the shows together created other issues.
“I think all the other shows are distracting people,” said Lerche at Junk de Luxe. “The location has changed, but the atmosphere and action hasn’t. I would personally like a distinct area for 40 Degrees.”
Mutiny’s designer Yasue Carter said he had been concerned about the new location, but found the move overall to not be a problem.