London Edge – Feb 2012

Earlier this week I made my way to this season’s London Edge trade expo, at Olympia in London. I reviewed a previous event for Sinzine and many of the companies that caught my eye that visit were here again. None of them let me down, although Miss Katie was obvious by her absence.

I thought in this review I’d focus on the key themes and stand out trends for Autumn/Winter 2012. Yes, even the alternative fashion scene do have them. One of the big ones was a revival of Punk style Tartan. Many of the companies have added tartan to their catalogue, for both sexes. The punk influence didn’t stop there though. Most clothing stands featured bondage straps, zips and safety pins, whether on leather bike jackets and original style canvas gear or updated raver gear and lollita style frilly things. This winter is going to look like 1977 all over again in Camden.

Another big thing for the next cold season is going to be really great boots. New Rock have excelled themselves this season, and have a range of real stunners for all sexes that will have you reaching for the credit card. Alongside these industry leaders, other companies are coming up with designs that means anyone currently thinking of shopping for boots should wait a while. Pleaser really stood out and their Demonia range is available via, although they aren’t cheap. In fact great shoes and boots were all over the show.

Alongside the punk revival, I noticed a growth in Goth influences within designs that pushed the style’s envelope. One that really caught my eye was the new range from Hexagon who have managed to combine their usual raver orientated themes with Gothic flavours to great effect. I know my wife and I are planning to visit their shop once the new stuff hits the shelves in their Camden store. I would advise you all to watch their website closely.

A couple of companies that are taking the Punk ethos into the 21st century are personal favourites of mine. Charles of London’s stand was superb as usual, and Red Mutha offer a bespoke service where they Punkify any jacket of other item of clothing that you send them, as well as a great range of printed t-shirts and other items. A company that also appealed to me, with their range of t-shirts with old school synth prints was A-Non, and I have my orders in with them already. Bus Stop, another t-shirt and jeans company from the US have a range of rock and roll influenced designs that will appeal to everyone, from Gothettes to B-Girls. They are currently looking for UK distributors, so keep you eyes peeled in your area. You can even wear ultra cool t’s when you’re a young’un, thanks to Rockabilly Kids.

One of the stand out companies for me was Phaze, who have been going as long as the scene. They haven’t always had the image of being that high quality, either in design or manufacture, but trust me things have changed up there in Newcastle. Their fashion show was a highlight of the day, and their stand was packed full of new designs and real cutting edge ideas as well as all the usual scene standards, all with a real high quality feel while still maintaining great prices.

If I was to give you one stand out theme above all others it would be Quality. Everyone at the show had raised their game, not only in design but in the quality of manufacture and of the materials used. I made a point of touching everything that caught my eye, and was blown away by the quality of fabrics every time. It was all felt tip top, and when you combine that with some excellent designs, this season will be one to make sure you hit the shops.

A company that truly demonstrated this quality increase was the German Re-Agenz. Their stand only had the highest quality fabrics and designs that combine the alternative ethos with a designer feel. I am sure that their outfits would fit in equally well on the catwalk as in a small dark Goth club.

All in all, visiting London Edge made me understand that the alternative fashion industry is playing for keeps now, and we as consumers are going to benefit from this. The forthcoming season is going to be one of those high points in the fashion of our scene and many of the items we buy in the later in 2012 will live in our wardrobes for many years to come.