What’s the point of Fashion Week? Is it even relevant?
As you can imagine, two very controversial questions in the fashion industry, but with the start of London Fashion Week 2018 it’s an important one to consider. By those outside of the industry it can, understandably, be difficult to appreciate why events like London Fashion Week are important. The bright lights, the flashy clothes it’s all just frivolous, superficial and dictatorial after all, right? But for everyone who is in the industry, it’s one of the most important calendar dates of the year – nothing get’s better than the 6 day event that allows designers to showcase their newest collections to the world.
As of late there’s been a slight concern about the direction of fashion week and it’s importance. Especially since the society we live in today is all about the present in comparison to fashion week which reveals next seasons trends. What with everything at our finger tips with just one click of a button, including the likes of food within the next half an hour, a last minute present and even furniture with the help of next day delivery, we want to see a trend and wear it now – not wait until next season before we see it in the shops.
With that in mind, fashion week has become a craze for street style and in particular what the celebs, bloggers and social media stars are wearing to the show, rather than the actual designs the models are wearing. Yes the models are still in the spotlight but no where near as what they used to be. The reason why? Not only do we know like we feel as though we have a connection with our favourite fashion bloggers but we can most likely shop what they’re wearing right now. If you like her dress, you’ll be able to buy it and wear it to your cousins wedding next week.
Does this mean that fashion week has become irrelevant to the masses? Is it only targeted towards a certain group of people in the industry who need/want to know what the hottest colour of next season is going to be? You could argue it never was relevant to the masses since the majority of us can’t afford to buy designer fashion on a weekly basis but even so it affects us all.
Whether you realise it or not, our daily lives will always revolve around designer fashion. From what we wear to work, the outfit we choose for a night out even down to what we wear to the gym since there has been lines for virtually everything. Fashion week has never been about seeing an item on the catwalk, loving it so much that you buy and wear it the next day. Instead it’s about seeing something you love, taking inspiration from it and working a trend into your wardrobe that can slot into all kinds of outfits. Even if you don’t do that intentionally, the highstreet does as they are inspired by designers presenting their work to the fashionista’s at fashion week. Where do you think Zara got the idea to put pearls on everything or where Marks & Spencer got the idea to finish off their stilettos with a crystal embellished buckle? Chanel and Manolo Blahnik that’s where, two luxury brands who showcase their designs at fashion week.
What about the actual show itself? More and more journalists and now fashion bloggers are attending less and less shows. Not just because of the boredom they endure but because they feel like a number of the shows are a waste of time and more of a marketing stunt.
I personally think that fashion weeks altogether need reinventing. Fashion should be fun and exciting which is what the shows should be. The format of a thousand people going to four cities all at the same time to watch 10 shows a day is coming to an end. With social media at the front line of fashion, it’s time to recognise that at fashion week. Yes Topshop live streamed their show on their website at LFW SS18 at the end of last year but I think this is only the beginning.
Communication is so easy with social media that it allows for new formats, new places, new times, it allows for new everything. Mulberry for example no longer have to only parade their designs up and down or round and round the catwalk. The shows serve their purpose through social media in such an efficient manner that they could be anywhere at any time. Showcasing wild animal print designs? – take them to a safari in South Africa. You may think that’s a little over the top but seriously why not? It’s the most expensive 20 minutes of a fashion house’s year so make it count somewhere that inspires the audience. Fly an exclusive number of people to see the show for themselves and either stream or record it for others – turn it into one big master piece that no one was ever expecting. What I’m trying to say is that all fashion shows and brands don’t need to do the same thing every season – they should be encouraged by social media to mix it up – the possibilities are endless and you reawaken peoples attention by making a change, let alone the talent.
On a positive note, designers and brands are attempting to shift the status quo. It’s not only us bloggers and consumers who are realising that something needs to change. Names likes Topshop Unique and Burberry are leading the way when it comes to future fashion show. Burberry made an announcement last year that they will be combining mens and womenswear collections, showing only twice a year and making the clothes available to buy straight away. In a similar vein, Topshop, Tom Ford, Tommy Hilfiger and the likes of Mathew Williamson have also created a ‘Runway to Retail’ collection in which a select number of styles from the show are available to buy immediately.
Of course when playing devils advocate I have to ask if this is enough for fashion week to survive? Especially when they’re is still such troubling dynamics surrounding the fashion industry; the unpalatably thin models, retouching during photoshoots, the real time bullying of interns, the list goes on yet it’s an industry that brings more than £25 billion a year to the UK economy and with nearly a million people employed within fashion in the UK, it’s in everyones interests to start turning the tables whilst avoiding a catastrophe.
Not only do brands need to bring customers closer to the London Fashion week experience but they need to reinvigorate it for everyone in the business. But for a fast moving industry that is built on turning ideas around quickly, it’s astonishing to see how this discussion has been a trending topic for the past 10 years with no real developments.
No matter what you think about fashion week, whether you think it’s a waste of money or perhaps a showcase of talent, the designs paraded along the catwalk inform clothing right across the board. The highstreet takes great inspiration from the shows, however extreme the designs may appear, and some even go as far to create exact copies sold for the fraction of the price (that’s another debate saved for another day) but imitation is the sincerest form of flattery right? Whichever way one chooses to look at it, all sides are laughing all the way to the bank.
What do you think about fashion week? Does it interest you or do you think it’s nonsense? I’d love to hear what you think in the comments below!
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