“We Shall Not Wilt” is the bold and powerful statement BODYBOUND makes for its presentation at 180 The Strand and the message is received – loud and clear.

Taking inspiration from the protest marches, anti-war slogans and flower power movements of the Seventies, BODYBOUND recasts the humble flower as a symbol of rebellion.

The timing couldn’t be more apt, as we are marking the 50th anniversary of 1967’s Summer of Love, which is when the hippy phenomenon bloomed. With London Fashion Week Men’s entering its fifth year, there is clearly more than one cause for celebration.

The speakers blast a cover of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” as the models stage a catwalk show before allowing us to examine the mixture of dainty and raw details up close.

This includes embroidered barbed wire peace signs, flower patches and military pockets and boots, with the addition of platforms.

Since BODYBOUND draws on trends from the Seventies, it’s a given that the brand delivers denim – here it’s worn overdyed – wide-legged grunge trousers and round sunglasses. They have all been adapted for the modern man, which means they’re not overly nostalgic, but they’re still unmistakable tributes to the era. As well as the navy blue colour palette, blacks, greys and whites mainly feature.

The collection strikes a good balance between the politically-charged undertones of the barbed wire patterns and the fragile vulnerability exposed by the sheer see-through fabrics.

Not once do we question the masculinity of the collection, however. It is masculine to its core, but where it blossoms is with a nod to florals and with unexpected elements, such as the scarves tied around the models’ necks.

‘NO FIGHT, NO FUTURE’ and ‘WE SHALL NOT WILT’ are mantras reiterated and embroidered on the pieces. Models clutch a small bouquet of flowers each – defiantly, but hopefully. As we know, flowers are not all sweetness and light. Some come packed with thorns. In this rocky political climate, perhaps one of our best outlets for expression is through fashion. After all, BODYBOUND shall not wilt anytime soon.

Textile designer Kim Wilkins and photographer Pliny Champion launched BODYBOUND in 2012. They were selected by Yohji Yamamoto as finalists of the Hyères Fashion Award. Wilkins attended Central Saint Martins and the Royal College of Art. He has been a consultant menswear and knitwear designer for brands including Katie Eary, Matthew Williamson and Alexander McQueen.

Words: Laura Rutkowski | Fashion Week Press | @Laura_Rutkowski

Images: Amie Charlot | Fashion Week Photographer | @amiecharlot