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  • Stefan Howarth

Welcoming the NEW format for London Fashion Week

In a world of COVID19, social distancing and mounting deaths, looking forward to June's London Fashion Week Men's seems a little odd, however yesterday a little press email entered my inbox, and I thought I should discuss it with you all.

The British Fashion Council has announced that for the next twelve months all London Fashion Weeks will merge womenswear and menswear into one gender neutral platform, to allow designers greater flexibility. Now this is something people have been calling out for in the last few season, and in my mind, I think it is a great idea!

Now for this June, the BFC have also announced that London Fashion Week Mens, will take a new form, as a digital-only platform in light of the current COVID19 situation, and will run from 12th to 15th June 2020. The digital platform at will relaunch and be for both trade and consumer audiences, embracing the cultural commentary, creativity and humorous spirit for which British Fashion and London are known for. Naturally this is the best of a bad situation and as the country, and much of the world is on lockdown, it is the best thing to be done. However, going forward, will this be as productive? and will this digital format end after COVID19 or will it stay? Sure while we cant socially interact its a great plan B, however in the future I don't think it will be the best format. What do you think?

Caroline Rush CBE, BFC Chief Executive commented: “It is essential to look at the future and the opportunity to change, collaborate and innovate. Many of our businesses have always embraced London Fashion Week as a platform for not just fashion but for its influence on society, identity and culture. The current pandemic is leading us all to reflect more poignantly on the society we live in and how we want to live our lives and build businesses when we get through this. The other side of this crisis, we hope will be about sustainability, creativity and product that you value, respect, cherish. 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 'bucketloads'. It is what British fashion is known for.”

The BFC said that London Fashion Week June 2020 will put storytelling at its heart and give a voice to British fashion businesses and creatives, allowing them to tell their stories in these extraordinary times by tapping into London’s cultural zeitgeist and highlighting its position as a global multi-cultural city. Bringing the fashion community together, the platform will host exclusive multimedia content from designers, creatives, artists and brand partners, enabling collaboration and bringing together fashion, culture and technology. Fun right? But not the same as sitting FROW and having that experience of the clothes gliding past you.

This new digital experience will be open to a global public and trade audience, and will work as a meet-up point, offering interviews, podcasts, designer diaries, webinars and digital showrooms, giving the opportunity to designers to generate sales for both the public through existing collections and the retailers through orders for next season’s products. I will personally be intrigued to see how this works, and whether it will change the face of fashion week forever. I would also like to see how productive this format will be, will we create brand relationships? Will brands get the same publicity and coveage? Will we be able to create the same content that many peopel survive on? I am unsure, but I can assure you, there will be no substitite to a good old fashion show!