The prestigious 67th edition of London Fashion Week took place in late February welcoming the most creative and innovative names in the fashion industry. With over 80 new and returning designers presenting their collections in an official on-schedule catwalk show presentation, the international event welcomed guests from 60 countries, from emerging and established talent, national and international press and buyers right through to global brand ambassadors and government officials over it’s 5 day schedule. But those stats, while impressive in themselves, only go some way towards explaining the importance of this bi-annual event to the fashion industry and of far more significance is fashion’s contribution to the British economy as a whole!
This year LFW focused on Positive Fashion, a platform designed to promote and celebrate diversity, sustainability and openness; encouraging fashion to be used as a platform to promote global positive change. In the centenary year of the Women’s Vote campaign, the event celebrated the inclusivity of the fashion industry and reaffirmed London’s position as an international hub for inclusiveness, openness, creativity, innovation and commerce.
Fashion writer Colette Fitzpatrick dived in to cover one of the biggest events on the Fashion Week calendar and brings us the top things we all need to know about from London Fashion Week AW18.
1. The Queen Attended Her First Show
AW18 saw the Queen attend her very first fashion show. Perched next to the American queen of fashion, Anna Wintour, she was a rather special addition to the Frow at Richard Quinn’s show, after which she presented him with the first Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design. The pictures of her beaming with Wintour are pretty sweet and it’s good to know that Quinn reckons she wasn’t put off by the bondage elements of the show. He told Vogue, “she’s seen a lot in her life. I don’t think a gimp mask will shock the Queen.”
2. Bailey’s Burberry Farewell
In other big fashion news, Christopher Bailey departed from Burberry but left with a bang,
presenting a collection he says is “dedicated to – and in support of – some of the best and brightest organisations supporting LGBTQ+ youth around the world.” Burberry’s heritage check reimagined as intertwined with a rainbow print, super-brights and an exhuberant celebration took over the catwalk and it was great to see a brand such as Burberry embrace progress so emphatically. While I do have it on good authority that the rainbow prints won’t make it to certain markets around the globe, it’s progress, right?
3. New Ways To Show
If you’re not the Queen and didn’t manage to snag a front seat at shows, fear not! While traditional shows and presentations still happened aplenty, live streams from the runway are increasingly common and new ways of showing are constantly being explored. Some of our own designers are among those making use of technology and social media to reach out directly to customers. Joanne Hynes, for example, showed her upcoming collection for Dunnes with a guerilla showcase all around London through her Instagram stories. Digital showroom SKMMP, who represent Irish
labels NATALIEBCOLEMAN, Electronic Sheep and McConnell, took use of technology a step further and employed AR to showcase their collections. They were able to show their pieces on a virtual model placed “in the room” and seen through the camera and on the screen of a tablet.
4. No more seasons? No more trends?
Speaking of progress and changes moving forward, sustainability is a major concern. The solution? We may have to rethink everything. More and more designers are scrapping seasonal collections and trends in favour of pieces that will work in the existing wardrobes of customers in different climates all over the world and last for years to come. J.W. Anderson, for example, has said that they will be “getting rid of seasons” and creating “clothing that’s trans-seasonal,” noting that he doesn’t “think the industry is trend-led anymore.” Burberry, meanwhile, have already scrapped their seasons and now merely refer to their shows as September and February.
Fashion Week is always exciting but this season offered some especially bold new ideas about design, technology and the future and it leaves me just dying to see what happens next!!
Colette has a dedicated fashion blog, Wide Eyed & Blind, has worked for international and national publications, blagged her way to the front row of many a fashion week, and interviewed world-famous bands.