The sharks were circling the tank at Christopher Raeburn earlier today. Raeburn couldn’t have picked a better metaphor to allude to the attitude needed to survive the increasingly competitive marketplace. With every other designer gunning to capture the audience’s vote on the second day of London Collection’s Men, Raeburn’s men turned predatory. Citing “survival, endurance and immersion” as his starting point, the award-winning designer aptly titled the collection “Raft”.
If Robert Redford taught us anything from “All is Lost”, it was that the seas are mean and survival is all about being resourceful and adaptable. Raeburn’s show today saw actual lifeboats being deconstructed and re-stitched into paneled parkas and bomber jackets. Latex rubber was used to create inflatable vests that bore resemblance to classic puffer jackets while accents of red punctuated the otherwise dark palette, conjuring images of signal flares let out in the night sky.
Raeburn seals his reputation as a designer who cares deeply about performance. It makes perfect sense that he was also appointed Artistic Director of the original swiss army knife company, Victorinox. In true form, his garments today are as technical as they are aesthetically pleasing. Finally, “sportswear” is not employed as a marketing buzzword for menswear designers to suggest functionality; instead, it has been baked into the construction and fabrication of the garments. British Millerian waxed cotton, high-quality Italian nylon and heavy-textured fleece were just some of the value propositions the reigning UKFT Menswear Brand Award recipient introduced to weather the elements. And no matter how turbulent the storm, Raeburn proves he’s at the top of the food chain once again.