We have wrapped on our first run of digital fashion weeks and it was definitely an interesting take on the traditional structure the industry stands by. No one knew what to expect when moving to a completely digital platform. But that was the beauty of the process. The force of hand and the loosening of fashion elitism’s firm grip allowed for an open approach to an often closed structure. London Fashion Week was the first to announce and deep dive into the virtual experience. Offering designers, students and industry leaders a platform to pool ideas and content.
Content formatting was largely left up to the contributors, permitting a diverse range of content on the platform. Some designers chose to release work outside the realm of clothing to focus on social inequalities, a problem that has demanded attention following the resurgence of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement.
The disruption of delayed manufacturing quoters. Formed from the fall out of COVID and the economic strain on brands meant there was a lack of clothing and new designs. With several brands reworking their fall 2020 collections. Contextualising them for the digital medium in London Fashion Week June 2020.
QASIMI, Charles Jeffrey, Daniel Fletcher and Robyn Lynch were some of the few designers to pull together capsule or full collections. A ‘see now buy now’ model was utilised to help capture the hype, and this move is one that makes sense for both designers and consumers of London Fashion Week.
Daniel Fletcher pulled off the event by using fabric he already had in his studio. Creating a revamp of tailoring to sell on his e-com store, with 10% of sales going to Black Lives Matter.
Charles Jeffery delivered 'Loverboy collection' a club kid-inspired showing, but offered a refinement of the often cluttered style approach. Handing the club night mini-event to black performers and graduate students Catherine Hudson and Halina Edwards.
QASIMI presented a full collection in the form of a video presentation, focusing on cool ground tones and a relaxed utilitarianism style.
Robyn Lynch created an uncommon experience teaming up with sportswear brand Rapha. Repurposing surplus materials from the brand and pulling the original materials to their limits to create some truly unique pieces.
'This collection is something special before I show S/S 21 in September. I’m a long-term fan of Rapha, so I reached out to see if they had any surplus materials. I’m so excited they agreed, mixing their surplus pieces cut and re-appropriated with my excess fabrics,' said Robyn Lynch.
Nicholas Daley reworked his fall runway show, held in January, with musical accompaniment by the jazz musicians Kwake Bass, Wu-Lu and Rago Foot for London Fashion Week June 2020. While menswear front runner Bianca Saunder unveiled ‘The Zine, We Are One of the Same’, that explored gender identity and worked in collaboration with photographer Joshua Woods and writer Jess Cole.
There was also an absence of the big-name, clout driving brands. Which meant there was an opportunity for emerging designers to take centre stage.
This format was more of a mass content share and conversation period, rather than a true fashion week. It was amazing for permeating conversation around the ideas of social change and representation discussion. Did it help from a retail growth position... not really?
I can't foresee a massive spike in sales after the Fashion Week run. It feels as if a lot of the designers are utilising this period as a lead for their September showing.
Past the often challenging navigation of the London Fashion Week site. The associability to ideas and the people behind them, was the highlight of London Fashion Week. As traditional fashion weeks start to ramp up, we should examine how we can pull conversation elements from this alternative Fashion Week. There is no need for the high filtration of content that normally plagues fashion weeks worldwide. I fell in love with designers and artists through conversations. Ones formed without the glossy filter of editorial magazines and publications. It felt scrappy and I loved it.