Nasir Mazhar couldn't care less about critics who say that he's just about logos and plastering tracksuits with branding each and every season. Sure the simple 'Nasir Mazhar' embellished t-shirts and joggers may sell well, but Mazhar's got a lot more tricks up his shiny silk nylon sleeve. You wondered if he was even giving two fingers up to the naysayers by upping the logos - he'd added extra dose of branding for A/W 15 with a striking 'NAS' logo (his nickname). Pieces came stamped with this as well as the traditional 'Nasir Mazhar' emblem we're used to seeing - it was a festival of name-dropping. But then the Mazhar man is a showy character - it's ignorant journalists who look at a tracksuit and called it 'casualwear' or 'street'. This is the new dressing up. To equate it to traditional dress, there's a big (and growing) market of blokes - you'll see them on Mazhar's front row - for whom this is their suit and tie. When they're out clubbing they care about looking good. They shop and style themselves with a precision that rivals the 3-piece-suit peacocks with their fussy pocket-squares and silly duck-handle umbrellas.
Mazhar is their hero. His work is technically intriguing and innovative. He's all about reinventing age old staples and offering them better, more luxurious versions of things they already like wearing. He made his name on the 'Bully cap' - a reinvention of the ubiquitous baseball cap and recently he's turned his hand to the suit, mashing together a tracksuit with more traditional tailoring. We've seen a lot of tracksuit suit hybrids this LC:M. Most of them involve making suit feel more like a tracksuit without loosing any of its aesthetic principals. It comes sharply cut with collar intact, just in a more comfortable fabric. By contrast, Mazhar made a suit more like a tracksuit. He sent out trackpants in showy jacquard with matching waistcoats (no shirt underneath, obviously) and cut sweatshirts with elegant shawl collars. It read like a bold statement but really shouldn't. Talk to Mazhar's generation and most of them have never worn a suit. Why would they? Most offices now don't require it and the notion of 'dressing up' has moved on - people want to look cool not formal, and that's what Mazhar caters to. That's also why he dubbed this collection an exploration of 'normal' - it catered to the everyday, the realities of modern life. Whether conservative fashion critics understand it or not, Mazhar isn't some niche designer catering to some odd, fashion tribe; he's responding to big, cultural changes in style and socialising and is making hugely relevant clothing.
If you look beyond the aesthetics, there was a conservatism to today's show. It riffed on the way couture shows are arranged - moving from daywear to eveningwear. It was a shrewd arrangement by Mazhar - a tracksuit isn't just a tracksuit, and his blokes need multiple styles to take them from hangover sofa station to club and back again. It was also a statement that there's a ready market for his fashion. Unlike many brands which are bought by shoppers as a key pieces - one statement jumper, or one showy shirt - Mazhar is bought to be worn head-to-toe and changed up throughout the day to impress and inspire jealously while navigating both social media and city life.