Everything You Need to Know About London’s Loverboy, Charles Jeffrey

Charles Jeffrey delivered another knockout show for AW 18 Menswear — here's what you need to know about the rising star.

Charles Jeffrey AW 18, “Tantrum!” collection at London Fashion Week Men’s. Image: Courtesy of STARWORKS GROUP.

He Was Mentored by the Same Professor as Alexander McQueen (the Designer He’s Most Often Compared to)

The designer was taught by Central Saint Martins legend, Louise Wilson, who unfortunately passed away in 2014. Wilson was reportedly hard on him, claiming his clothes “didn’t make sense”. She encouraged Jeffrey to reflect on his own style of dress and to document his daily looks. These photographs would go on to form the backbone of his brand LOVERBOY.

Charles Jeffrey Loverboy AW 18 Was His Darkest Show to Date

The wunderkind’s childhood memories of being bullied while growing up gay have fuelled the fires of his creativity, and were the major influence in his latest collection, “Tantrum”. Jeffrey noted Alan Downs’ “The Velvet Rage: Overcoming the Pain of Growing Up Gay in a Straight Man’s World” as a major inspiration, a book which, for Jeffrey, is about “accepting anger and utilising it”. Traditional Scottish tartan is incorporated throughout the collection, and is reimagined with the designer’s playful hand and gender-bending forms.

He Financed His Masters Degree With Club Nights

Jeffrey’s birthday party at Vogue Fabrics Dalston was (literally) a raving success, so much so that he transformed it into a party series called “LOVERBOY”. The club nights took place over the course of the year, forming the ideal safe space for experimentation in dress and creative community building. Jeffrey is a far cry from the NYC Club Kids of the ’90s; his brand of partying is intimately tied to the production of meaningful conceptual art and boundary-pushing designs. Each event was an opportunity to grow the brand, as the designer and his peers built elaborate sets and shot editorials with partygoers styled in Jeffrey’s looks.

He’s Breaking into the World of Contemporary Art

Jeffrey is a cyclone of creativity; his illustrations, paintings and sculptures inspire his collections, but are also stunning in their own right. It comes as little surprise, then, that NOW Gallery has dedicated a whole show to Jeffrey’s artistic works. The show, entitled “The Come Up”, is an interactive exhibition based on identity and agency. Gallery goers are greeted with blown up versions of the designer’s illustrations, made with chicken wire and papier-mâché, in his customarily joyful colour scheme. Viewers are provided with shelves of assorted artistic materials and encouraged to make their own marks on the sculptures, by drawing their own faces or imagining new ones. The piece truly won’t be complete until the final day of the exhibition, reiterating Jeffrey’s reliance on communal support to make truly impactful art. The exhibition runs at NOW Gallery until the 11th of February.  

Charles Jeffrey Loverboy SS 18 collection at London Fashion Week Men’s. Image: Chris Yates.

His First Independent Collection Was One of the Freshest at London Fashion Week

Jeffrey has quickly established himself as one of the most exciting names in menswear by mixing humour with couture, and radical creativity with technical excellence. The collection travels forward and backward in time and remixes traditionally gendered silhouettes with subcultural signifiers. Bright colours, bold shapes and out of this world styling made for a carnivalesque atmosphere, transporting the audience into the queer, post-gender utopia that is the land of LOVERBOY. The final look — a ballgown with Victorian-esque proportions and Matisse-like cutouts, worn by a male model in a wig and rainbow body paint — was a show-stopper like no other.

LOVERBOY is the Lovechild of Jeffrey and His Tribe of Queer Collaborators

It’s clear that the LOVERBOY brand is an extension of the same collaborative attitude that made the LOVERBOY party series so fruitful. His eagerness to provide a platform for queer artists, writers and performers is wholeheartedly refreshing. The brand’s egalitarian energy is instrumental to its message, which amplifies freedom of expression and the disruption of societal norms. Jeffrey and his tribe are reminders that true innovation is a product of collectivity.

His Avant-Garde Designs Are Surprisingly Wearable

Jeffrey’s second show was further proof that LOVERBOY is more than just an avant-garde spectacle. It’s easy to spot a number of stand-out pieces with commercial appeal. Jeffrey’s ability to mediate art and commerce just may earn him a place amongst the ranks of the world’s most celebrated conceptual, risk-taking brands like Commes des Garçons and Vivienne Westwood. LOVERBOY is already stocked by Dover Street Market, Rare Market and Boo the Shop; the brand’s presence on world class shelves in its nascency seems to be foreshadowing Jeffrey’s ascension to the forefront of the industry.


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