This London Fashion Week looked nothing like usual It was the first post-Brexit London Fashion Week, a mostly digital event and, for the first time, officially gender-neutral. Months ago, chief executive of the British Fashion Council (BFC), Caroline Rush had already underlined the concept “Moving London Fashion Week Men’s into LFW in February will continue to de-gender [the event], allowing designers greater flexibility to consider what collection they show when and minimize travel requirements, taking us one step closer to a more sustainable future.”
With no street fashion frenzy, this coed fashion week had nothing of the spectacle that overwhelmed the streets of the city just one year ago. Still, it has never been street stars and influencers that made London stand out-its new talent. From all four major Fashion Weeks, London always held the reign of the most avant-garde, with many up-and-coming designers pushing the boundaries of creativity while cementing London’s status as a talent incubator. This year was no exception. Yes, there was Burberry, Matty Bovan or Simone Rocha along with some great new talent rising(read Maximilian Davis, Priya Ahluwalia, Foday Dumbuya, and Maxxij).
For most of us though, London was famous for the sense of community and experimentation. In my mind, London Fashion Week is mostly this; a vibrant community where are exchanged, friendships become talent partnerships, and intercultural influences create a solid narrative, this of the city and its people. True to nature, this concept of the community remained a focal point of the A/W 2021 London shows. Amidst all difficulties, the London fashion world realized they were experiencing those signs of the times together and united, and it was their view that would eventually define this season‘s overview. This Fashion Week became personal.
For Sibling designer, model, and London fashion legend Cozette Mc Creery, this mostly digital format meant she had to find the navigation format that worked for her. “I was in my laptop or if I was trying to screen record it so that I could put on my Instagram, on my iPhone. The laptop was for shows such as Molly Goddard and Art School where links on the LFW website took you to their YouTube accounts and I used my phone for everything else either to watch brands/designers via their Instagram live function or to view via their websites. I didn’t use the LFW platform much as it’s really clunky and awful to navigate via phone.”
Stephanie Irwin, the host of the super-popular Fashion Originators podcast, also encountered the digital challenge, solved by the ever-present social media world.”I tried to engage with London Fashion Week through the official website initially, but it somehow made the world’s most intriguing designers seem dull. Instead, I engaged with social media accounts like @fashfightclub and High Fashion Talk, and participated in conversations on the ClubHouse app where people ranging from established editors to junior-level creatives weighed in on different collections.” For her, being a part of a community became a way of putting collections into context. “In this age of content-overwhelm, pointed memes and conversations with friends have been the central way I’ve been able to find a perspective on the latest fashion collections. These perspectives go far deeper than a descriptive passage in a fashion magazine under-pressure to say nice things to maintain advertiser relationships”
Insiders have their own fashion week highlights. For Cozette Mc Creery, it involves a highly emotional personal experience that brought to mind those old pre Covid times.“A stand-out moment? Me walking for Art School (laughs). OK so that’s truly a personal key moment but filming it was such a mood booster even under strict covid rules. To actually see people, to have someone trim your hair or put make-up on you, the human experience of being touched (admittedly by someone almost in a Hazmat suit) and be part of such an amazingly diverse casting was a truly emotional experience. I actually burst into tears watching it and I am not one for crying.
Apart from that,she still has her favorites of the season. “Other moments would be Saul Nash’s short film which I found really moving and rather beautiful, Simone Rocha’s biker punk princesses, Erdem’s Fontayne dresses and fine knits, all of Fashion East – I’m not kidding WHAT a powerhouse this season and Westwood, who I have to admit I’ve not liked in ages but this season the plundering of her own archive really worked. Oh and also I loved Stephen Jones’ and Edward Crutchley’s mini-documentaries. Both talked you through their collections, the inspirations, how pieces were made – I found them both fascinating and engaging.”
For Stephanie Irwin, it was also Fashion East’s showcase of fresh talent that stole the show-and her heart. “I ADORE Lulu Kennedy’s Fashion East, and Maximilian Davis was the highlight of the lot. The shapes, the energy, the attitude – it’s like nothing else I’ve seen lately. Despite looking at the images on social media only, while alone in my flat, I literally said: “This is fucking epic” out loud! Honestly, it’s no surprise that he will soon be stocked in net-a-porter, Browns, and SSENSE! “