Oily overalls and suped-up 4 doors put the fire in Liam Hodges’ engine this AW16. His first season stepping out alone — after five prior with Fashion East — the young RCA Graduate stayed true to brilliant form. Hodges is a designer who takes inspiration from London past and present, and the boys he grew up with, and reimagines them on a runway. Silhouettes were a little cleaner this season: higher waists, tighter tops and the odd sharp jacket. It is still, however, his track pants, in all their baggy-to-tapered glory which win the race. They are such a good shape.
A License to Thrill
License plate yellow was the central colour of the work: splattered like oil onto black trousers, patched onto joggers or bombers, or within a jacquard fabric which lapped the showspace a few times. There was ‘red wine red’, black, white, and royal blue — racing car colours for racing car boys. It was the brightest of Hodges’ recent offerings, with an atmosphere of brotherhood and positivity — the whole show blasted off with all of the boys darting out in a crowd, winding around the runway, and disappearing again — as if racing cars all together. The theme was realised both in atmosphere and in garment. Some highlight pieces from the whole weekend lie among this collection, however some of the grey marl jersey fabrics did not quite win the race.
The boys Hodges is referencing are the mechanic’s apprentices, the ones who spend a year on an old banger — who do it because they love it, not because it’s mad money. The true petrolheads. It becomes somewhat ironic that a pair of Hodges’ trousers, or a jacket, will set you back a car full of cash, because it’s the lads who spend all their money on car parts, and not clothes, that are being hailed as the fashion heroes for Liam’s collection. Hodges is not a class tourist — these are the kind of boys he knows, and this is most probably what his clothes need to cost in order for him to sustain a label — but it’s worth pondering for a second whether the consumer who readily drops a ton of dosh in order to replicate this oiled up aesthetic will recognise how privileged their position is. Of course, some people save up for months for a pair of Hodges trousers (or anything with a label) — the fashion versions of Liam’s motor-heads — and that’s a different story.