Hellqvist & O'Donovan Document No.1
David Hellqvist On His New Publication
Back in June, London hosted a well-overdue celebration of British men's fashion with London Men's Fashion Week. A significant selection of local talent - both fresh and established - showcased collections in a testament to the caliber of male-minded design in the capital. During the festivities, menswear journalist David Hellqvist and photographer Morgan O'Donovan were onhand to capture the collections in all their glory and document the conception of what is likely to become a milestone on the menswear calendar. David and Morgan's journey has culminated in Hellqvist & O'Donovan Document No.1, a book (of sorts) that compiles interviews and text by David, accompanied by Morgan's photography, to provide an insightful look into the current state of British men's fashion. Ahead of the Document launching today, I spoke with David about the project.
Jack Smylie: How did the Document come about? Were you planning it during festivities, or was it more of an afterthought?
David Hellqvist: We wanted to work on something, me and Morgan. Initially it was meant to be a website but we quickly decided that a printed Document was the way forward. At that time, London launched its first ever standalone menswear week and we felt quite strongly that it was the perfect launch pad for our collaboration. His photos and my text, that was the vehicle - hence the fairly arrogant name. The Document, at least for this time, is a celebration of London's menswear talent, something we've both worked closely with for that last few years.
JS: What were some of the highlights for you at London Men's Fashion Week?
DH: So many, and the best way of answering that is showing you the images of our Doc. The reason we picked these nine designers is just that, we think they represent the best of the best in London.
JS: Why do you think it's taken so long for London to promote a fashion week exclusively presenting men's fashion?
DH: Menswear has always been fighting an uphill battle compared to womenswear, that's just the way it is... there's more money, it's more extravagant and just more... fashion! Menswear, for me, is about fabrics, cuts, details and style; that's what I love about it.
JS: How did you go about choosing which designers to feature in the book?
DH: We had a list of interesting names before the shows kicked off, but just a couple made it to the last edit. It was all about what designers impressed us with their collections - but at the same time we wanted nine designers that represented London's spectre of design talent, and I think we managed that just fine.
JS: Originality was certainly in abundance during LMFW; do you think the general trend in British men's fashion is moving away from tradition?
DH: No. Britain is not only the birth place of Savile Row tailoring but also Punk. I think that is quite visible in London's design output.
JS: Which designers do you think are leading the pack? Are there any up-and-comers we should be keeping an eye on?
DH: The conceptual genius of Aitor Throup, Christopher Shannon’s luxe sportswear, Agi & Sam’s print-tastic colours, Martine Rose’s awesome shirts, the mad world of Meadham Kirchhoff, Richard Nicoll’s first menswear collection which happens to be absolutely beautiful, Sibling’s Technicolour knits, Astrid’s muscular boys in lace and Shaun Samson’s chromed sandals. How can you beat that?