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Comment: Why the world looks to London Fashion Week

Graeme Moran

The spring 19 edition of London Fashion Week (14-18 September) has drawn to a close, and it is clear why it draws visitors from around the globe.

This season pulled in one of the most international crowds in LFW’s history, and influential buyers and journalists from around the world were in attendance.

Burberry helped to draw this attention, thanks particularly to the debut collection from its new chief creative officer, Riccardo Tisci.

Elsewhere, Victoria Beckham celebrated 10 years of her brand by moving her high-profile show from its usual New York Fashion Week slot to the UK.

These headliners were attractions, but they didn’t completely steal the spotlight, as London’s unique businesses and emerging brands excelled across a strong season.

Brands such as Simone Rocha and Erdem were highlights, while newer names showed promising potential, among them rising star Richard Quinn.

The city’s growing contemporary class, led by the commercial cool of brands such as Rejina Pyo and Eudon Choi, lent another string to LFW’s bow – at Pyo’s 9am Monday show, the buyers’ seats were the busiest and buzziest.

There is no denying that fashion weeks have grown into huge marketing platforms, but there are things that the broader industry can learn from LFW.

For one, it maintains its reputation as the world’s centre of emerging talent because London, more than any other city, nurtures and supports this talent via schemes such as the British Fashion Council’s New Gen. Some of the city’s brightest stars – Rocha, Erdem et al – came through such schemes and would not be where they are today without them.

Elsewhere, designer-led brands took directions that other businesses could follow. Mary Katrantzou celebrated 10 years of her eponymous brand by focusing on what she does best: updating her best designs (and bestsellers) to offer her customers exactly what they want.

Similarly, at Burberry, many were expecting Tisci to jolt the brand into a different direction. Instead, he turned to Burberry’s core and updated it. Rather than throwing the baby out with the bath water, he focused on Burberry’s different customers, what he called the mothers, daughters, fathers and sons, and gave each of them clothes they will want across a varied collection. It was very Burberry, but done the Tisci way.

He’ll fit right in at LFW.

 

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