Why designer James Lakeland is channelling a fresher and more modern vibe throughout his 2014 collections

James Lakeland has started the New Year with a fresh outlook. The British brand’s Modernista collection for SS14 and beyond answers customers’ prayers for fashion that is classic yet fashionable and youthful while being sophisticated – a niche that the founder believes isn’t being fulfilled by any other brand.

“For the past four years the whole industry has been full of disappointments,” he says. “We’ve seen stores closing, companies folding and labels merging; the energy that used to be put into design has lost its focus somehow.”

The designer says that this has seen the fashion world splitting into two extremes: high-end luxury clothing created by the likes of Gucci, Prada and Chanel versus cheap ‘throwaway’ collections churned out by Primark.

For Lakeland,
 however, this era is
about the change. For
2014 the designer is
clearly focused on
delivering strong,
contemporary fashion
that perfectly reflects what women want to wear today. “Boutiques are
in a strong position because they are able to cater for customers that sit in between these two camps. It’s no good stocking garments that women can get for less money on the high street. The whole nature of shopping in an independent is that you get something exclusive – and buyers today must use this niche to their advantage.”

Lakeland’s Modernista collection, which launches in SS14 and will continue as a theme through to AW14, has been created in direct response to changing consumer demands. “I’ve thought a lot about the women in my life when creating this collection,” he says. “My wife is 40 and my sister is 43; they’re not in their 20s anymore but they still want to be modern. I don’t see this changing in 10 or 20 years’ time. Whatever age women are today, they still want to be modern.”
The designer’s SS14 collection ticks all the boxes for this new attitude. Key pieces include a slouchy reversible knit, a hero ponte jersey waistcoat
and a pastel pink tailored coat with diamante buttons. It also features some more fashion-forward pieces, such as a standout monochrome dress, that indies can use in their windows and displays to attract attention to their store. “It offers something different that people will remember,” says Lakeland. “People want glamour, they want pieces that show their favourite store is moving forward and changing.”

And he is so confident that the collection will be a success that he will continue the same theme with the brand’s AW14 range, which will be unveiled at next month’s Pure. “Frumpy is over,” Lakeland concludes. “Women, whether they’re a size eight or 20, don’t need to be frumpy anymore. It’s basically like saying that they’ve past caring about themselves and what they wear whereas Modernista says the complete opposite.”

Buyers can view James Lakeland’s collections at the label’s Marylebone showroom.

CONTACT: Tel: 0207 636 7130 Jameslakeland.net