The 9 Biggest UK Fashion Moments of 2023

From Daniel Lee’s Burberry debut to Corteiz’s NYC Shutdown and HARRI’s Inflated runway, here are the events that took over our screens this year.

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UK fashion reached a high point in 2023, nurturing several stand-out moments that welcomed fresh faces while waving goodbye to industry legends thickening their generational tenures. As we step into the new year with excitement for what is to come, Hypebeast looks back at the most memorable moments fronted by British creatives, from significant London Fashion Week debuts to controlling streetwear entities and underground trends that transitioned into mainstream success.

Burberry kicked off 2023 by welcoming Daniel Lee as its new Creative Director, following in the footsteps of Riccardo Tisci, who notably failed to connect Burberry’s British heritage with contemporary design methods. Corteiz’s stateside shutdown outlined hype culture by taking its beloved streetwear functions to New York City, launching its regional-exclusive Nike Air Max 95 collaboration at local bodega activations. Martine Rose made UK summer her own by announcing her role as Clarks’ first guest Creative Director, showing her three-part footwear collection at London Fashion Week Men’s that reinterprets decade-old silhouettes. In September, HARRI and Skepta made their runway debuts in the British capital, inflating garments to monstrous proportions while manifesting Wimbledon games in front of London’s glitterati.

Fashion crowds fled to Parisian territory to experience Sarah Burton’s final bow at Alexander McQueen, ending her 26-year stint at the British fashion House with a tearful farewell. Jorts and football shirts became essential UK uniforms under beaming weather, combining classic noughties styles while making headlines as the most impactful trends of 2023. Wales Bonner and Chanel closed the year with viral collaborations and international runway shows that championed UK textile history while escorting modern footwear trends into the new year.

To look back on a historic year for British fashion, Hypebeast breaks down the nine biggest fashion moments of 2023 before the new year, evaluating occasions that had us glued to our seats season after season.

Daniel Lee’s Burberry Debut Shakes Up London Fashion Week

Bradford-born designer Daniel Lee took the helm of Burberry earlier this year, staging his inaugural collection at London Fashion Week. Lee departed Bottega Veneta in 2021 and revamped the historic label with buzzy designs that embraced vibrant coloring. Burberry hoped he’d have the same effect, and his debut was nothing short of a spectacle — welcoming several celebrity attendees, including Kanye West, Naomi Campbell, and Future. The collection was everything we wanted and more, seeing Lee celebrate Burberry’s extensive legacy while targeting youthful audiences.

Lee reignited century-old Burberry signatures, opening the show with an all-new Equestrian Knight Design (EKD) that marched into new realms. He warped traditional Burberry Check with psychedelic variations that formed mesmerizing illusions, grounding the collection in solemn hues with bright dashes of color. Lee’s Burberry entrance showed his ability to reinvigorate dated classics, outlining the brand as a hit in 2023.

Corteiz’s Stateside Takeover

Clint419’s Corteiz is the brand of the moment, taking over 2023 with no signs of slowing down in the new year. From its sell-out collaboration with Nike to its first nomination at the British Fashion Awards, Corteiz has demonstrated unstoppable growth. The brand traveled across the pond earlier this year, storming New York City avenues and showcasing its achievements worldwide.

Corteiz raffled its NYC-exclusive Nike Air Max 95 “Pink Beam” colorway inside a local bodega that drew thousands of fanatics for a chance to cop. The two-toned pair saw hysteria unfold before our eyes, ushering in a new era of enthusiasm previously managed by Supreme and Palace Skateboards. The London-based imprint proved it currently rules the world, cementing its motto internationally.

Martine Rose Is Clarks’ First Guest Creative Director

British-Jamaican menswear designer Martine Rose has positioned herself as one of the industry’s top designers, delivering her sophomore collaboration with Nike while capturing the timeless spirit of UK pub culture with Stella Artois. Her ruling wins included receiving the British Menswear Designer Award while dressing England’s Lionesses in exclusive on-field football kits throughout 2023.

Local footwear titan Clarks marked her biggest moment of the year by being appointed as the brand’s first-ever guest Creative Director. The newly established role allowed her to redesign several Clarks silhouettes revealed at her London Fashion Week runway show in June. Rose selected The Oxford and The Loafer, giving them swollen uppers that put comfort above all. The “Coming up Roses” collection puts a spin on classic models, featuring inflated toe boxes, snakeskin patterns, and thick-cut wedge heels.

Jorts and Football Shirts Shut Down Summer

The sun warmly spread across UK grounds this summer, greeting residents with toasty heatwaves that saw people resort to the great outdoors. Blazing UK summers pair perfectly with sport and jorts, seeing the ongoing trends dominate genderless fashion moments throughout the season. Cut-off jeans quickly became an elemental component of local uniforms that keep fashion-forward styling at the forefront, while vintage football tops were unearthed from club archives and pushed across London landmarks.

Y2K essentials returned to international avenues in 2023, with low-waisted jeans and ultra-baggy T-shirts managing youthful crowds worldwide. The ‘90s craze was led by jorts, landing in our shopping carts fostered by London’s A1 Denim and Palace Skateboards. The city-wide shift has migrated into winter wardrobes as trend-setters carry the bottoms into 2024. Vintage football shirts graced the upper half with retro tributes to your favorite football club, moving strongly into the new year with the 2024 EURO tournament beginning in June.

HARRI Inflated London Fashion Week With a Bulbous Runway

Indian designer Harikrishnan Keezhathil Surendran Pillai — HARRI — made noise at London Fashion Week at the premiere of his Spring/Summer 2024 collection championed by BFC NEWGEN. HARRI’s first runway show opened his whimsical universe, providing an artistic showcase overwhelmed by inflatable latex. HARRI gave a peek inside his creative mind with four-dimensional figures that sprung into action with immersive performance art.

The designer’s viral-worthy creations reached international spectators hoping to observe his contorting garments, sending models down the runway in otherworldly uniforms and alienesque bald caps that distorted natural human proportions. His debut was widely praised by fashion lovers far and wide, seeing HARRI cement himself as an emerging designer to watch.

Skepta Hits the Court With Tennis-Inspired MAINS London Runway Show

London Fashion Week’s Spring/Summer 2024 season welcomed dozens of new faces, passing the baton to new designers looking to make a statement. AARON ESH unleashed “Beautiful Chaos” on the runway, while Ashley Williams returned to the calendar after a two-year hiatus. British rapper Skepta held one of the most highly-anticipated shows of 2023, debuting his MAINS London label in a star-studded tennis-inspired show.

The “one-of-a-kind” experience was four years in the making and provided exclusive collaborations with Beats, PUMA, Timberland, and more. The collection was guided by London-inspired MAINS London staples, utilizing supreme British craftsmanship across embroidered denim sets, silk Mains Drill Suits, and athletic uniforms grounded in clean-cut tailoring with streetstyle flair.

Sarah Burton Bids Farewell to Alexander McQueen

British designer Sarah Burton held her ground for 26 years at Alexander McQueen, ending her stint at the UK fashion House with a grand farewell at Paris Fashion Week in September. She entered Alexander McQueen as an intern after graduating from Central Saint Martins, becoming Lee Alexander McQueen’s personal assistant and working her way to head of womenswear in 2000. She transitioned into Creative Director ten years later, ending her tenure with a sentimental tribute to modern women everywhere.

Burton’s final collection explored the female anatomy through red rose iconography with a powerful stance, drenching sensual womenswear in contemporary outlines that recalled her emblematic contribution to British fashion. Noami Campbell closed the runway with tearful eyes, giving Burton a lengthy standing ovation celebrating her heroic legacy.

The Wales Bonner x adidas Samba Is a Smash Hit

English designer Grace Wales Bonner has grown an intimate relationship with adidas since 2020, leading the rise of the adidas Samba through unique collaborations that promote vintage inspirations. While the model graced the feet of thousands in 2023, Wales Bonner’s sold-out interpretations sent trend-seekers into a frenzy with oversized tongue flaps that more than doubled on second-hand markets.

Wales Bonner’s most recent Fall/Winter 2023 collection was awarded “Best Sneaker Collaboration” on Hypebeast100, seeing four long-haired colorways become smash hits that build on current Y2K trends. The designer dived into adidas’ archive with athletics in mind, producing football-inspired footwear accompanied by asymmetrical knitwear, preppy tracksuits, and more.

Chanel Métiers d’Art Show Honors Manchester Artisans

Rainy skies backdropped Chanel’s latest runway show, which was held in Manchester’s Northern Quarter earlier this month. The Parisian brand shut down Thomas Street in the city center, welcoming a star-studded audience to observe its latest womenswear collection.⁠ The showcase championed England’s rich fabric history by highlighting its famed textile mills used in the 19th century. Chanel paid tribute to English artisans through local tweed fabrications, seeing the brand’s feminine styles receive edgy finishes that reflect Manchester’s thriving ecosystem.⁠

The Pre-Fall 2024 Métiers d’Art show brought both worlds together through world-class craftsmanship dedicated to its couture specialists, welcoming dozens of UK personalities to experience its runway show on British soil. From Aitch to Bugzy Malone and Kristen Stewart to Kate Moss, Chanel made its mark on Manchester and closed 2023 with a bang.

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