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With the economic blues hitting home and our hard-grafted Vinted sales no longer safe from the tax man, the euphoria around fashion might feel like it’s on the way out. But even the 2008 financial crash couldn’t stop London Fashion Week and so, this February, LFW reared its subversive, stylish head once more.  

And, okay, we were kind of gagged! From Dilara Findikoglu’s ode to the divine feminine to Tolu Coker’s joyful, street hawker-inspired collection, London’s designers lived up to their bold reputation. But one thing we didn’t expect for a fashion city known for its raves and stick-it-to-the-man attitude? Suits…literally everywhere.

Whether it was Fashion East, JW Anderson, Aaron Esh or Labrum, tailoring took over but, have no fear, the anarchic London spirit still reigned strong. Models stomped down the runway in deconstructed shirts, oversized silhouettes and BDSM-lite briefcases that – if they could talk – would undoubtedly say, ‘my favourite workplace romcom is Secretary‘.

Why, though? Well, there’s no denying that workplace culture is shifting. Gone are the days of your traditional 9-5, but the grind – no matter what you do – lives on. If anything, we’re having to work more than ever to get by: wages are stagnating and the cost of rent, food and pretty much everything else is ballooning. And that’s not even mentioning that the retirement age is expected to keep going up and up, meaning that most of us will be spending even more of our sad little lives clocking in every weekday morning.

So, why not have a little fun with your office wear? Or, if you’re one of the many folk who don’t work in an office, why not cosplay as a vampy office siren, as the FYP seems to have been encouraging us to do since the beginning of the year? At least that’s what LFW – and in particular, the queer designers on its schedule – seemed to be suggesting.


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A post shared by Olly Shinder (@olly.shinder)

It’s true; the ‘corporate girly’ vibes are over. Instead, make way for Olly Shinder‘s anti-workwear. For his second Fashion East outing, the designer expanded on his ongoing fascination with contemporary uniforms. Maintaining his interest in athleisure and sportswear, he also took a foray into the seemingly opposed world of corporates and kink: marrying sculptural shirt collars, skinny dad glasses and slacks with thigh-high leather boots, slick rubber accents and Berghain-ready bustiers.

Similarly, Sinead O’Dwyer also took a tongue-in-cheek look at careerism for AW24. Crisp shirts are slashed, twisted and cropped to create bold cutouts and unexpected flashes of skin while briefcases are encased in the tight, criss-cross pattern of her signature shibari-like mesh bodysuits.


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A post shared by Sinéad O’Dwyer (@sjodwyer)

Could it be that Shinder and O’Dwyer’s combination of fetish and work is making the bootlicking and power play of the office explicit? The jury is out but, at the very least, these are clothes that can take you from the warehouse to your company all-hands the next morning.

So, as the fashion pack turns their sites to Milan and leaves Hell Island behind, let’s slap an out-of-office on plain grey suits and white shirts and start lobbying our workplaces for kink-inclusive dresscodes.

Read more of GAY TIMES fashion interviews and hot takes here