Talking Points: This Is London Fashion Week in a Nutshell

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Photo: Courtesy of PA Images

Now that the glitz and glamour of New York Fashion Week has wrapped up, it’s time for London to step into the spotlight and showcase Spring/Summer 2020 collections. London Fashion Week (LFW) kicks off today, promising yet another season of wild beauty looks, incredible clothes, and OTT runway shows. Even though LFW comes around twice a year, this season is set to be a particularly dramatic one. Here’s why.

1

Public Shows

Fashion shows tend to be incredibly exclusive events. Only the biggest celebs and most important editors are invited, adding to the mystery and allure of Fashion Week. Some of that air of mystery is being shattered this season, as the British Fashion Council (BFC) has set up new public-facing shows with House of Holland, Self-Portrait, and Alexa Chung.

Having said that, it’s not exactly going to bring fashion to the masses. Tickets are expensive, with the standard option priced at £135 (AED 618) and front row seats priced at £245 (AED 1,121) – and it’s not even the brands’ latest collections. Instead, House of Holland and Self-Portrait (and probably Alexa Chung, too) will be showing their FW19 collections that hit the runway in February. It’s still a good chance for people to experience a fashion show, though.

2

Environmental Issues

We’re increasingly talking about the environmental impact of the fashion industry, so there’s understandably a sharp spotlight on LFW. Climate activism group Extinction Rebellion (XR) has called for the BFC to cancel it, but since this has evidently not happened, the organization is planning to take action. Extinction Rebellion posted on Instagram: “We will not stand by while the natural world is being taken from beneath our feet. We will send a clear sign to the fashion industry that business as usual is leading us to extinction.”

XR is hosting a “funeral” for LFW, which it says “will pay respect to its legacy and put it to rest forevermore. This will be a time to pause and reflect on the lives already being lost and that will be lost as a result of climate and ecological breakdown”. The event will take place on September 17 and, prior to this, there will likely be various actions planned to disrupt LFW while it’s on.

 

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We face an existential threat if we do not change course by 2020, yet meaningful action has not yet begun. We need culture to lead the way. Fashion is one of the most polluting industries and one of the most influential. Fashion should be a cultural signifier of our times, and yet it still adheres to an archaic system of seasonal fashion and relentless newness at a time of emergency. 🚨 ⁣ ⁣ On the 26th of July, we sent a letter to the British Fashion Council. “In recognition of the existential threat that faces us, we ask the British Fashion Council to be the leaders the world needs now and to cancel London Fashion Week. We ask that instead the industry convene a People’s Assembly of industry professionals and designers as a platform to declare a Climate and Ecological Emergency, to face the truth and to take action following in the footsteps of The Tate and Culture Declares.” The BFC agree “We are facing a climate change emergency and all need to act” but we don’t see emergency action.⁣ ⁣ We will not stand by while the natural world is being taken from beneath our feet. We will send a clear sign to the fashion industry that business as usual is leading us to extinction.

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3

Fashion for Relief

Naomi Campbell is returning to LFW with Fashion For Relief, her celebrity-packed fashion show that raises money for charity. We can expect big designers, bigger supermodels, and – of course – the queen of the catwalk herself hitting the runway on September 14.

Photo: Courtesy of PA Images
4

Politics

Unfortunately, there really is no escaping the ongoing dramas of Brexit, and the fashion industry isn’t immune. The BFC has said it “continues to communicate with government to emphasize that a no deal Brexit is a scenario that should be avoided”.

As we edge closer to the October 31 deadline, it’s highly likely Brexit will be front and center in many of the collections. We’ll be keeping a close eye on designers like Ashish, known for pulling no punches when it comes to making political statements.

5

Schedule Changes

Most seasons, the biggest news ahead of any Fashion Week is the inevitable schedule changes and new creative directors at big brands. There aren’t too many shocks in the SS20 schedule, but there are some major names missing. Peter Pilotto has decamped to Milan for the season, Vivienne Westwood appears to have a slot at Paris Fashion Week, and Mary Katrantzou is doing a special show in early October in her homeland of Greece instead of going to one of the Big Four.

Everyone else is present and accounted for, from Victoria Beckham and Richard Quinn to Burberry and Erdem. It’s likely there will be a huge emphasis on beauty at the Victoria Beckham show as the fashion mogul prepares to launch her beauty line.

Peter Pilotto Spring/Summer 2019 | Photo: Courtesy of PA Images
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