Despite struggling buying conditions, the fashion industry is showing some resilience with the introduction of new initiatives. Primarily, The British Fashion Council have announced they will be running a gender-neutral fashion week on digital platforms from June 12th. Under normal circumstances, this date was scheduled for Men’s LFW, consisting of exclusive catwalk shows, presentations, events and designer showrooms. Under the new digital format, senior figures within the fashion council are hoping the week will help promote inclusivity in the industry and crucially, we will be able to stream live from our kitchen table! Perfect, if you ask me.
The details of the digital LFW agenda are, at the moment, unclear, but it will obviously be relative to what the designer can produce under the constraints of isolation. So, expect anything from a virtual look book to a podcast. Caroline Rush, the chief executive of the British Fashion Council, said in a release, “by creating a cultural fashion week platform, we are adapting digital innovation to best fit our needs today and something to build on as a global showcase for the future. Designers will be able to share their stories, and for those that have them, their collections, with a wider global community; we hope that as well as personal perspectives on this difficult time, there will be inspiration in bucket-loads. It is what British fashion is known for.”
I think huge benefits will be discovered through this change, and the new accessible nature will certainly interest a wider audience. Whilst the Fashion industry has also been forced into a period of slow down, it has also been granted a period of reflection to think twice about levels of consumption and the number of shows. Last week, designer Marc Jacobs argued that it was only necessary to have two shows a year. “The amount of stuff we make and the quantity we make and the amount of time it’s shown – it’s just so excessive,” he told the Vogue Global Conversations webinar. Traditionally, there are four London fashion weeks a year, February and September fashion weeks for women’s; January and June fashion weeks for men’s. So, will a more gender fluid approach continue to filter through the industry and change the structure we’re accustomed to?
Even though cities such as Shanghai and Moscow have used a more digital focus to their fashion weeks during the pandemic, London will be the first city to entertain a solely digital fashion week from start to finish. Whilst this presents a huge challenge for organisers and designers, London has the chance to change the wold’s perception and make a long-lasting difference. According to WWD (Women’s Wear Daily), the British Fashion Council are hoping to maintain its four annual live events – how will these be executed?
Only time will tell, and in truth, we will have to wait until September for S/S 21 to properly reflect on the changes. Undoubtedly, June London Fashion Week 2020 will be one to remember, with a real focus upon innovation and social awareness. Have you always wanted to go to a fashion show and attend the exclusive designer presentations? Have you always wanted to see what it is like to have a spot on that front row? If so, 2020 is your year. For full access, all you need is a reliable internet connection! So if you’re up to speed with the latest broadband, June’s LFW week will be just a couple of clicks away, and you’ve got the best seat in the house…
By Annabel Rodick