Just one day to go before London Fashion Week Autumn-Winter 2017 is over. And this is your insider information to the London Fashion Week. What is it actually like to be a part of the main fashion event in the city if you’re a designer, buyer or a fashion editor? Is ‘belonging’ always a pleasant experience?
What is London Fashion Week for a designer?
For a designer who has a catwalk show at London Fashion Week – the week means months of preparation, 15 minutes of fame and few following weeks of anticipation of the outcome. To be ‘on schedule’ is a success, but also hard work and a substantial investment (of £10K+) for a 15-minute show that is supposed to be a long-lasting impression on fashion editors, buyers and, let’s admit it, bloggers.
For a designer or a brand who is a part of the Designer Showrooms, LFW is five days of hard work with buyers and press, representing their latest collection and taking orders, trying to do their best getting new stockists. Sometimes, it’s a designer who’s doing that, which is great and more personal (such as Eudon Choi below), more often, the brand is represented by an agent or collectively, by a PR or Sales agency in a multi-brand showroom.
What is London Fashion Week for a Buyer/Sales Agent?
The craziest time of the year. Sales Agents travel the world with their brands they represent trying to make as many sales appointments as possible, with current and prospective stockists. Buyers at the same time travel the world trying to scout new hot names, meet with current clients and get to the most important fashion shows. Sales agents and fashion buyers have close relationships; they need each other, designers need them both. For someone in the industry, Fashion Week is hard work, followed by (sometimes) rewarding drink receptions.
What is London Fashion Week for a PR Agent/Fashion Editor
Similar to an Agent-Buyer relationship, PR and Fashion Editors also collaborate. PR agencies invite journalists to their press days during Fashion Week hoping to get their brands on the pages of the publications. That is where the editors get spoiled (get their goody bags filled with freebies and get drunk on free Italian prosecco). The rest of the Fashion Week is intensive for the journalists – tens of fashion shows to attend and review in the matter of a couple of days, sometimes, a couple of hours. Online media makes it harder for the journalists – they need to spot a unique angle of the story and make the story live almost at the same time the show has ended.
How do you get there?
Designer Showrooms are open only for accredited press and buyers; this is not for the public. It’s important to know that Designer Showrooms and Showcase (Catwalk shows) is not the same thing. To get to a catwalk show, you have to be invited by the designer (you can always email their PR team and ask for the invite to the show). In short, if you’re accredited press, you can’t automatically access all the shows. If you’re a Vogue editor, you will get invitations to numerous shows, but you will still have to register for the Designer Showrooms.
London Fashion Week premises is also the ground for all kinds of ‘off-schedule’ happenings. Usually, crowded by photographers (street-style hunters) and bloggers (objects of the street style hunters). If you want to experience London Fashion Week, you can show up at the location for a fun people-watching experience.
This year, however, people watching was overshadowed by protesters who petitioned, loud and clear, against the use of the fur at London Fashion Week. On Day 3 at LFW (Sunday), a small organised protest was the centre of the attention, and you couldn’t have entered the building without squeezing by the passionate crowd shouting ‘Shame on you, London Fashion Week’. I asked some of the people protesting which designers were using real fur in their AW17 collections. Unfortunately, no one could find me the list of 25 designers on the spot. Here is a list of all the designers, some 25 of them are using real fur (unconfirmed numbers).
The most exciting part of the LFW is the usually uplifting vibe at the shows and live presentations. This year, Ukrainian designer Natasha Zinko invited us to a happy disco party. Models (oh, how beautiful they were) wore pastel colours, white sneakers and bright pink make-up – the atmosphere was breathing the 80s. An exclusive review of the show – soon on Fashion Bloc.
But not everything glitters that is disco. After the Natasha Zinko show, we had to exit to the street at 180 Strand being met by the ‘Shame on you’ chants. Shame on me? Am I a part of this? Maybe.