The collections themselves may not be anything new, having already made their debuts on the catwalk, but the great thing about press days is that they offer the opportunity to get up close and personal with the garments. They allow you to truly appreciate the feel of the fabrics, the intricacy of the embellishment and vibrancy of the colours in a way that the bright lights and distance of the runway prohibit.

So, in the trendy office space of Concrete Projects HQ, I got a closer look at two of my favourite menswear brands: James Long and Christopher Shannon. For SS14 James Long took inspiration from the world of cycling, with aerodynamic stripes and mesh galore; SS15 is not a million miles away from that.

As expected, there is a sportswear foundation to the collection with traditional sportswear fabrics making up the bulk. The stripes are another recurring theme, this time in the form of ribbons woven through mesh or roughly stitched onto the front of a sweatshirt. The colours also remain quite similar; primary shades of green, red and yellow on a backdrop of grey and navy. The main differences lie in the inclusion of metallics; namely a striking foil-effect jacket with jersey collar and metallic thread running through some of the striped cotton pieces, only noticeable up close.

Off the models, Christopher Shannon’s SS15 collection takes on a different feel; appearing more sporty and less urban than it had at the show. Pieces that hadn’t caught my attention on the runway suddenly jumped out as collection faves; the grey sweatshirt with zip decoration is enhanced no end once you get near enough to notice the textural element it brings to the piece.

Christopher Shannon’s womenswear offering mirrors the menswear rather well; again featuring a sportswear influence only this time manifesting itself in the cuts and a stylised ring zipper repeated throughout the collection. An oversized version of the zipper appears on the statement piece: the white, patent faux croc-skin jacket.

Also present at Concrete Projects was Natural Selection; a brand that wasn’t on my radar… until now. The SS15 collection has a charming minimalism to it, seemingly based around exploring denim by deconstructing it’s elements and observing them individually; colour, texture, fabric weight. As well as using denim as a fabric in it’s own right, Natural Selection changes it into a print on a super-light plasticised fabric, a coated nylon of some sort at a guess. Linen shorts, long-sleeved and short-sleeved shirts are purposely given a denim-esque texture. To accompany and freshen this ode to denim; long white shirts with polka dot panels and some pieces in khaki.

Written by and images © Francesca Bassenger.