After almost 40 years of showstopping runway events, the British Fashion Council has announced a new digital and gender-neutral variation of London Fashion Week amid the coronavirus lockdown. The quarterly event, which will commence the week beginning June 12, will be completely reimagined online, with both menswear and womenswear designers showcasing their collections and brands on londonfashionweek.co.uk.
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In a press release, Caroline Rush, the chief executive of the British Fashion Council, said, “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 bucket-loads. It is what British fashion is known for.”
The virtual event will include “interviews, podcasts, designer diaries, webinars and digital showrooms,” and will be available to both industry insiders and fashion consumers to interact with. You’ll be able to watch brand videos, peruse digital lookbooks, read written-out designer Q&A’s or even listen to a podcast from your favourite creative.
The LFW online platform will also contain a virtual showroom space, to help brands connect with retailers without face-to-face contact. “It is essential to look at the future and the opportunity to change, collaborate and innovate,” Rush continued.
“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.”
Over the last few seasons, there has been mounting criticisms and concerns around the sustainability of fashion weeks due to their cost, carbon footprint and sheer size of production. Earlier this year, Tokyo opted to livestream its fashion week shows and Shanghai quickly followed suit going digital in early April. Global pandemic or not, these new digital solutions may present an unprecedented opportunity to change fashion week as we know it.