As a 32-year-old Liverpudlian, menswear designer Christopher Shannon is thrusting his roots into the limelight with a collection he defines as ‘refined scallyism’, a phrase one could only expect a northerner to proudly coin for their work while holding their head high down south. Fresh off the first men’s fashion week (The London Collections: MEN) it is clear that Shannon is now a hot-ticket item.
He has already been around the fashion block and counts seals of approval and sponsorships from fashion heavyweights such as Fashion East and Top Shop New Gen whose alumni currently include the likes of Jonathan Saunders and JW Anderson. Now his brand is far surpassing these incubator-scheme roots, it is time for Liverpool to sit up and take note of someone who is to become one of our biggest exports to the international fashion industry.
The designs sit perfectly on a par with the high-fashion trendhunter and unsurprisingly they would not look out of place on many of our hands-in-pants lads that congregate en masse around the city. Shannon adds, ‘I think Liverpool has such a strong identity that is always apparent in my work. Men in Liverpool have always been peacocks and the casual scene of the late 1970s
had an effect on how sportswear has been worn by the whole world. I like updated classic shapes that look new, and pieces that men can wear without feeling like they are laden in fashion or something too showy.’
Having never intended on becoming a fashion designer, Shannon knew he had to incorporate his love of drawing, fashion magazines and music videos somewhere into his career. Prior to his degree from the esteemed Central St. Martins in London, he completed a foundation course at John Moores University and nurtured his passion through doing shoots for a local listings magazine and a stint on BBC Radio Merseyside. Now living in London, Shannon loves coming back home to see his family and walk the dogs through Sefton Park and Clarke Gardens. He adds, ‘London doesn’t come close to the richness of Liverpool’s parks, space and quiet. When I bring people to the city they are always surprised to see what a great place it is and how wonderful the parks and buildings are.’
When home, you can find Shannon biking along the prom, eating Dim Sum at Tai Pan or having drinks on Allerton Road. Shannon explains, ‘I think as a city we’re good at picking up on odd trends and there’s always something I do in my show that harks back to my understanding of what looks good, which is down to my upbringing and how particular Liverpool people are – especially lads.’ His latest collection is inspired by images of British folk traditions and this season’s mood board included shots by James Pearson-Howes and also old 1970s’ skater photos.
With all of the media hype, it is refreshing that Christopher remains humble and down to earth. He adds, ‘We aren’t really a celebrity brand, all though the pieces do get worn by people in the public eye, we don’t really court that sort of thing. I want the clothes to be known for what they are rather than who wears them.’ ‘That said there’s loads of people I like such as Pete Burns as a total eccentric and also Joey Barton who has great individual style and doesn’t adhere to that generic footballer look’. It is refreshing that the sense of Liverpool does still shine through behind every aspect of his brand. Take a look at christophershannon.co.uk and you will find the ‘Kidda Shop’ – a link to his collection on ASOS. He says, ‘I have a huge attachment to Liverpool, my family have Chinese and Irish heritage and they all still live in the city’.
Currently the Christopher Shannon collection is stocked outside the UK at stores like Opening Ceremony in New York and 10 Corso Como in Korea, but he is working to branch out across his homeland, naming Bold Street (his favourite street) as the prime location for a flagship store. Although his accent may no longer be the strongest, he has always been keen to champion Liverpool and we should be proud that he is one of our own homegrown talents. Shannon adds, ‘I’m proud of my roots and all the things my upbringing in the city has given me as a person and a designer’. His unassuming disposition, northern pride and passion for sportswear are naturally a winning recipe. Having already collaborated with Top Man, East Pak and the Cambridge Satchel Company, he is expanding his brand and spreading the ‘kidda’ love. Christopher Shannon is poised to ascend to great heights and his loyalty in flying our Liverbird-crested flag is ever present.