LFW SS20 – From Sustainability to Suiting Its Fashion’s New Direction
London Fashion Week (LFW) has evolved into something more than a platform for the latest designer collections. With plenty of film crews, photographers and journalists gathered in one place it has become the perfect backdrop for activists to stage their campaigns and with the environment and climate change high on the agenda Extinction Rebellion activists made sure their message took centre stage from Day 1.
Historically fashion has had an incredibly poor record in the realm of environmental concerns and is said to have a carbon footprint more than international flights and shipping combined. However, the industry is changing and this was noticeable across this season’s LFW event. Chair of the British Fashion Council Caroline Rush CBE stated on opening day that: “The British Fashion Council has worked to push the Positive Fashion agenda since 2006 with the launch of Esthethica, a part of the London Fashion Week designer showrooms which was curated by Orsola de Castro and Anna Orsini and focused on sustainability. It feels like a natural evolution and progress that we can now have an exclusively Positive Fashion focused exhibition which is not only open to the trade audience but also to the public and addresses sustainability and the businesses that put these values at their heart.”
The exhibition at this season’s SS20 event really pushed forward brands that are leading the way in sustainable business practice within the industry, from the likes of Hanna Fiedler and her use of traditional, locally based, tailoring methods and Ancuta Sarca’s upcycled footwear (pictured below) to Paolo Carzana’s ethos to work with nature – not against it. Carzana uses reconstituted fabrics and materials made from natural sources such as pineapple leaves.
Looking to the designers of the future the exhibition also featured recent graduates, these included sustainable knitwear designer Hannah Stote and Janislav Solovjob with his collection created from 100% natural fabrics using sustainable technologies in garment engineering and manufacturing.
In terms of silhouettes and key styles going forward into Spring/Summer 2020 two very distinctive camps, both with a heavy nod towards the early 1990’s, became apparent as the event unfolded. The first was all about a second-skin, the body-con look that Alaia pioneered a quarter of a century ago. Newcomer Nensi Dojaka revealed skimpy, barely-there, lingerie inspired designs in sheer, muted tones, while Dom Sebastian’s stretchy dresses and tops featured his experimental, vibrant prints that have a Dali-esque, surrealist feel. Elsewhere Paula Knorr poured her models into super light sequins and metallics in streamline styles that often reveal a shoulder or two. And super-fine knitwear specialist Mark Fast presented his take of the figure-hugging boob tube and fitted pencil skirt combo.
The second leading trend to emerge for the season was reminiscent of Armani’s soft tailored suits that were all the rage back in the early 90’s. Tailoring was prevalent on and off the catwalk from relaxed, single-breasted styles as seen at EFTYCHIA and Margaret Howell, to oversized double-breasted jackets as seen at Roland Mouret. This mood was echoed by Fashion Week attendees with neutral shades of white, beige, camel and rust being the most popular.
London Fashion Week 13 – 17 September 2019
Images by JoJo Iles