“People have mixed views on London Fashion Week, entire varied emotion depending on who I’m speaking to…”
London. The fertile home of fresh talent, newness and a variety of designers. Some can’t wait for the dashing around, the prospect of being snapped in their OOTD. They thrive off the adrenalin when squeezing through to get as close as possible to the front row for the exciting new pieces. To the other extreme. Those finding it a complete faff, pained by the constant carousel of changing from flats to pinching Gucci-shoes. They move from their day time sleek hair to coiffured night time looks. All complimented with dramatic makeup for the parties and after parties and in some cases, the after-after parties.
There are those who don’t get invited to any shows – or parties. Yet they still venture on down to inhale the atmosphere. Pour moi, September’s LFW usually falls on the anniversary of the death of someone very close so I try to head back to Wales to be with family. Ultimately I miss the Fri/Sat/Sun schedule. I watch everything on Snapchat/Instagram/live streams though so get to see mostly everything online immediately, (see the live streaming schedule here).
How To Attend
There are ways to enjoy LFW without having the golden ticket to a show. Some shows can be as exclusive as you’d imagine but these days, most tickets are more attainable than ever. If you haven’t been invited by the designer’s press team, apply for a ticket yourself. On the London Fashion Week website, select the show you’d like and email the Press Office with a well thought out email including a reason why you should attend.
Seen at every Fashion Week in each of the major cities, London is the only captial to host the Designer Showrooms in the same space as its official show space. Essentially, the showrooms house 150 designers and showcase the varied ready to wear pieces. Don’t be misled into believing these are the poor-mans fashion shows. Designed by David Collins Studio, they have launched lots of global brands, including on-schedule designers.
If that isn’t your cup of tea, there’s also the TONI&GUY and Maybelline New York pop-ups on hand and Sunglass Hut are hosting a space for guests to check out the latest eyewear displayed on a revolving ‘runway’ of sunglasses. Swatch are also exhibiting.
See Now Buy Now
There’s no denying that in the fashion world, it’s always about making things new. Everything is centred around newness yet you’ll often notice most things are just having a revival with a bit of a twist. Take the 90’s trend for example. LFW is no different, it’s all about the new. Only these days, it’s about amplifying the new and making the new accessable immediately. Fashion is becoming ‘fast fashion’ as designers hurry to stream catwalks and make them shopable from the get-go. You’ll now see some designers selling parts of their new collections online immediately following their catwalk debut, ultimately captialising on their success or ‘striking while the iron’s hot’. I’m interested to see how the high street will be affected by this in years to come given that the reliable, trusty (translation, cheaper) stores have always had a few months grace period to correctly copy, steal and translate looks at more affordable prices.
Make A Statement Without Saying A Word
Seats at LFW shows are constantly changing year on year with new people switching rows and who’s next to who. Particularly down to the rise of influencers and new Creative Directors at the labels themselves. Fashion shows can be a lonely and cold place when you don’t know many people, especially given that people are head down in their phones and will probably ignore you. Be prepared to have a spine and know that it can be an intense place that not everyone would enjoy. But most people are all about the fashion as you would be too else why are you there?
Travel & Accommodation
Non-Londoners should book their accommodation close to the venue and think about transport to the location in advance. A hotel is best if you want fuss free, fully serviced lodgings but Air BnB can be quite cool if you want an after party of your own. It’s wise to avoid Uber’s for the duration of LFW for fear of being late, getting lost and traffic.
What To Wear
I’m a fashion chameleon. I have my work wear outfits, my weekend outfits, my party outfits, outfits for shopping, outfits for travelling, outfits for zoo time with my niece. Sensible me says opt for your personal style and comfort at these events but be true to yourself. I’d wear a blue vintage sequin dress over a white shirt with ankle boots and a scarf to go shopping so I’d probably choose something similar at LFW. At work I tone my outfits way down and wear something semi professional but casual – I wouldn’t wear my work clothes to LFW! Too businessy. Right now I’m loving bright logo tshirts with cropped flares, a fussy cross over bag and a jacket thrown over (with the bag peeking out underneath). Don’t be fooled into thinking there’s a dress code or that you need to wear loud clothes to stand out, remember, style is something you possess not what you can buy.
Dress Ahead Of The Crowd
The point of the shows are for you to see what’s coming up a season ahead which is why so many fashion editors take notes. Pick up the tips and get in there before anyone else, for instance wide legged cropped trousers? Tick. New ways of layering? Tick. New fabrics worn differently? (Yeezy on Tidal anyone?). Tick. This is what separates the fashion elite. You’re not there just to say you’re there.
Sample Sizes Smaller and Smaller
Bloggers, celebs and other fashionistas can call out pieces after the shows to put on their own space to share with the world but don’t be too alarmed if the sample sizes are smaller than ever. As models get smaller, sample sizes get smaller and it’s a worrying downward spiral. For people like me who love a good burger and chips (if they’re sweet potato it doesn’t count), bear this in mind.
These days anyone and everyone can head down to Brewer Street and just indulge in the eclectic ambiance and don’t be surprised if you bump in to a huge, well known person. I remember a few years ago bumping in to Olivier Palermo and being so starstruck I couldn’t bear it. Research in advance by checking out social media and you might find a lot of people sharing news from where they are. It’s good to know who is floating about and always go prepared with your business card (even if you have your GQ one and your blog one like me).
There will be a lot of princesses acting like total ignorant sows because they’re at LFW. Be human, remember that everyone else is human and don’t act stuck up. Be prepared for some people having the biggest sense of entitlement that you’ll ever come across but know that this isn’t normal behaviour. Most people at LFW are beautiful both inside and out, are fascinating and will pay many compliments to your style and outfit if they like it. They share the same interest and are (on the whole) really sweet. Don’t be surprised if someone asks you to please take their picture and then offer to take one of you. Oh go on then. Bear in mind also that no one likes a super Debbie Downer nor does one fall in love with an over excited four year old adult.
However you decide to do LFW, peacock or not, have an amazing time. Each Fashion Week around the world is new and surprising. Check out the LFW schedule.