What Is The Future Of Fashion Week?
Kick-starting the fashion week calendar this year, London Fashion Week Men’s in association with the British Fashion Council and GQ ignited the fuel of the fashion industry presenting elite and up and coming designers.
From quintessential British brands including Barbour, Belstaff, Nigel Cabourn, Liam Hodges and Phoebe English to international brands and designers such as SONGZIO and XIMONLEE, the renamed London Collections Men’s set a high standard for following cities.
From ‘See Now, Buy Now’ to men’s and women’s combined collections, we can’t help but wonder what the way forward for the industry and Fashion Week’s will be? Should men’s and womenswear combine, forming one larger Fashion Week each season? Or should they continue to operate independently? The likes of Vivienne Westood, Belstaff, Nigel Cabourn, Katie Eary and Sibling all combined their men and women’s collections, which raises the question of can standalone Fashion Weeks survive in the ever changing, streamlining industry?
Whilst London Fashion Week Men’s has provided a vast array of designers the opportunity to showcase, the event has only been running for under 10 years, having been launched by British GQ editor-in-chief, Dylan Jones, and the British Fashion Council, which leads to the question can the event survive without those big draw names? It should also be noted that genderless fashion is making more of a stance, for example this season ART SCHOOL and their genderless collection was shown via a visual presentation of men and women dancing in the designs as part of Fashion East’s presentation.
‘See Now, Buy Now’ is paving the way for hungry fashion consumers, giving them the ability to shop the seasons collection almost instantly thanks to the evolution of social media and ecommerce over the last five years. Incorporating SN/BN this season, Barbour, Edward Crutchley, maharishi, Chester Barrie and John Smedley presented their shopable runways and presentations, providing an immediate spoilt for choice option.
Whilst Vivienne Westwood was the big name to return to London having previously shown only in Paris, the lack of other ‘big’ names were somewhat lacking. Paul Smith for example has chosen to show his AW17 collection at Pitti, a leading tradeshow for the industry based in Italy rather than in London, followed by a presentation of his men’s and womenswear in Paris later this month. Alexander McQueen, Gieves & Hawkes, Kilgour, Burberry, Dunhill and Moschino have also opted not to take part in the capital’s menswear showcase. With the rise of up-and-coming designers within the British fashion industry, this could be seen as a blessing and a curse. The relocation of top names sees further opportunity for newcomers, but shouldn’t established designers pay homage to their cities and show in their originating locations?
With LFWM now over, the fashion industry embarks on numerous further events; Pitti, Milano Fashion Week, New York Men’s and Paris Men’s before the women take over and show their collections in February and we can’t help but wonder what to expect but one thing is for sure, the future of fashion looks genderless, seasonless and immediate.
Words by Rebekah Litherland