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UK designers support overhaul of fashion week format

British designers have welcomed proposals to change the format of the biannual fashion weeks, which could allow them to become more consumer-focused.

The Council of Fashion Designers of America, which organises New York Fashion Week, thinks designers should hold smaller showroom presentations and appointments with retailers and press, where orders are written, and a catwalk show of in-season merchandise six months later.

It is undertaking a study on the future of NYFW with US firm Boston Consulting Group, which is due to report next month.

Cozette McCreery, co-designer at London-based knitwear label Sibling, said: “Frankly, it makes a lot of sense. For us the shows at both London Collections Men and London Fashion Week are there purely to push press and social media.

“We sell women’s pre-collection from line sheets and images. So from a buying point of view it seems that buyers have no problem with ordering without a show.

“However, it would mean a huge shift in how we all work right down to factory level. For a small company this is quite a risk.”

Catherine Teatum, co-designer at London-based womenswear brand Teatum Jones, said: “We feel the showcasing element of fashion weeks will remain relevant.

“However, the timings of fashion week will shift to better suit consumer engagement and behaviour. Social media has completely shifted the retail paradigm and with that, consumer behaviour and expectations have outgrown the current schedule of fashion weeks.”

Caroline Rush, chief executive of the British Fashion Council, organiser of London Fashion Week and London Collections Men, said there was no doubt the format would evolve, but underlined the need to ensure emerging designers have a platform to reach new wholesale partners and media.

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