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Monday, February 6

London Collections: Men aims to give British menswear a platform

At a special event hosted by the British Fashion Council in Paris, GQ Editor Dylan Jones launched London Collections: Men, a menswear-specific fashion week for London in June. Here is his speech and stay tuned to GQ.com for more information as we get it...
"I have to say that this is probably the worst-kept secret in the fashion industry. From June onwards, menswear is going to have its own fashion week in London. This means that, from this season, London will host three days of men's fashion shows.
Menswear has never been so important in this country and the extraordinary appetite for menswear can be seen at all levels, from the High Street to Bond Street. The men's day during London Fashion Week has grown and grown to such an extent that it is now too squeezed to remain one day. This week will be called London Collections: Men.
From June 2012, London will kick start the menswear calendar with a menswear showcase embedded in a cross-cultural programme bringing together the very best of British style.Savile Row, Bond Street, Mount Street, street fashion, tailoring - and everything in between. The dates are June 15-17, with a special launch event on the evening of Thursday 14 June.
The question is: why now? As I say, men's day during London Fashion Week has outgrown itself. What started as an opportunity to showcase emerging talent ignited a strong desire for British designers and brands to have an event that reinforces the talent, the breadth of design and the heritage of this important British industry.
And the reason we're doing it this season is because this year, London is the gateway to the world thanks to the Queen's Jubilee, the Olympics and all the activity in London between. This year, all eyes are on London and we want all eyes to be on our industry too.
What will be taking place? Fashion shows, sales exhibitions, installations and a whole calendar of events that will enable guests to experience British menswear from many different perspectives and encourage sales of some of the most innovative designers in menswear today.
The central hub of London Collections will be the Hospital Club, the private member's club in Covent Garden with broadcast and live streaming facilities as well as space for films, presentations and showrooms.
Which designers will participate? Those designers who already participate in men's day atLondon Fashion WeekFashion East designers, NewGen Men designers (if you want a taste of this emerging talent then make sure that you visit London showrooms in the Marais), but remember these designers are just the tip of the iceberg, to whet your appetite for the wealth of talent you can see in London. You will experience the best of Savile Row from Richard James to E Tautz, and iconic British brands including DunhillAquascutum and Margaret Howell.
However we are also in discussion with other brands. We have only just started these conversations and will update you on men's day at London Fashion Week.
I am also creating a special committee. A few of the people on the committee are David Furnish, Elizabeth Saltzman, Tim Blanks, the Mayor's office, Marigay McKee, David Walker-Smith, Jeremy LangmeadGordon Richardson and Jo Levin to name only a few. More names will be added in the coming weeks. If you see a tall, bald man sidle up to you looking shifty, it will be me, asking you to be on the committee.
We have a lot of work to do, but I'd like to thank you in advance for all your help. We can only make this initiative work if we have the support of the industry and the press. Media support for men's fashion week will be crucial, and I'm asking you to kindly support us. Well, not just us, but the menswear industry as a whole.
I'd also like thank all the designers for their support and all media and retailers for their support of British fashion. Thank you to Topman who have believed in a British menswear programme for some time and supported men's day at LFW.
I'd also like to say a big thank you to Mr Porter, who have come on board as a sponsor for this initiative. Mr Porter is a fantastically important initiative itself, and it's great that we are able to work together.
I am also hosting an international GQ conference on Monday 18 June, to ensure that all the editors, including China, Brazil, FranceItaly and every other territory, are represented in London.
Finally, I'd like to beg your indulgence, and ask you all to support what we all hope will be a great new initiative for British fashion."
London Collections: Men runs from June 15-17.

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