In the past, Nasir Mazhar has expressed frustration that his work is oversimplified or misrepresented by certain sections of the fashion press - they fail to understand his references and see little more than retro tracksuits. ‘A lot of journalists don’t even know what to write about it. They have no idea what we’re referencing. Some do, but the majority don’t have a clue. What you get straight away is ‘sportswear’, ‘nineties’ - that’s it, that’s all I find I ever get. Is that as far as you can see? And especially because we don’t give out press releases, they have even less of clue what to write about,’ he told me, when interviewed for SHOWstudio’s In Fashion series in 2014.
It was interesting then that Mazhar changed his mind and offered attendees notes at today’s show. Maybe he’s sick of his work not getting the credit it deserves - certainly his branding has got more attention than his finishes or cuts. Perhaps that's why he chose, yet again, to present a collection made completely in black. One couldn’t be distracted by surface - the eye had to take in more.
Those surprise show notes explained that each look had been treated differently - made as if a separate project from the next. Indeed, this felt like something of a journey through the life and career of Mazhar. It wasn't so much a greatest hits, rather a tribute to different moments and characters - potentially those who have influenced and shaped the brand over the years. So, the dynamic head sculptures nodded to Mazhar’s history as London’s up-and-coming milliner - suggesting boundary-less creativity, before the demands of a commercial fashion label. Elsewhere long gowns referred to his interest in historical dress. While a ‘suit’ worn with a white shirt suggested a change in dress patterns - the decline of the original tailored suit and the rise of ‘sportswear’ shapes and styles as something relevant to the modern man. After all, who wears suits to work any more? With these many ideas, Mazhar was spelling out his strengths and accomplishments to the viewer. His show notes talked of big changes for the brand. Maybe this was about re-establishing and firmly asserting its foundations. Certainly, Mazhar is not only looking backward, but also forward, perhaps most importantly - if those sexual, gender-less, barely-there pieces are anything to go by - still towards the underground and the rule-breakers; those who’ve always loved his work, show notes or not.