After showing her Autumn/Winter 2012 collection as part of the Vauxhall Fashion Scout calendar during London Fashion Week, menswear designer Frank Phillips opted to unveil her Spring/Summer 2013 collection for ToBeFrank the day before the opening of the inaugural London Men’s Fashion Week in June 2012 in a disused retail space in central London.
Hailing from Rotherham, Phillips studied Fashion at the University of Huddersfield and undertook work experience with Anna Sui in New York and Topman in the UK before creating ToBeFrank, a label that is intended to address the sartorial needs of the modern gentleman who favours practicality over design. Guided by this notion, for Spring/Summer 2013, ToBeFrank offers a range of essential staples for men who want a wardrobe of pieces that are easy to select when it comes to matching colours and shapes.
The collection includes a pleasant range of cotton trousers, shorts, shirts, blazers and raincoats in neutral shades of white, grey, navy and sand contrasted with vibrant, summery colours such as orange, red and blue (even if the images of the lookbook shared with The Style Examiner do not do justice to these vivid hues). Details come in the form of oversized collars and fabric panelling, two features that have been popular with a number of menswear designers over the last couple of seasons.
It is undeniable that the creative process underlying ToBeFrank’s Spring/Summer 2013 menswear collection is highly pragmatic and unapologetically commercial. In the context of a global challenging economy, and knowing that most men do not want to be burdened with fashion choices, the decision to go down this road is understandable and can be interpreted as a wise one. Ultimately, ToBeFrank produced a successful range of clothes, even if some of us still believe that the imaginative borders of menswear can be slightly stretched in more creative ways.