London Fashion Week is once again upon us!
Designers, models, journalists and photographers from all over the world have all gravitated to the capitol to see who’s wearing what on the catwalk this year and pick up the vibe of the upcoming trends for the year to come.
The importance of the fashion industry in this country shouldn’t be overlooked. As well as being an important aesthetic showcase for home grown talent and creativity, fashion in this country is big business, with the industry being the third largest in Britain. The industry is at the heart of youth culture with half the workforce aged between 16-29.
London Fashion Week itself is expected to draw in over 5,000 visitors from across the world, who will contribute £21 million to the capital's economy. Many of these will be motivated to attend not only by the clothes, but the endorsements of the celebrities wearing them. When Kate Moss launched her Topshop clothing collection in 2007, her celebrity status ensured that thousands of fans gathered around the Oxford Street store as the range went on sale, and more were still queuing up to get their hands on items a day later.
The power of the celebrity launch is nothing new in the world of fashion; Jean Shrimptons status in 1965 launched the mini-skirt to much popularity and scandal in equal measures. It went on to become an icon of 60s style. Twiggy launched her own fashion range in 1967, the highlight being “Twiggy Dresses”. The range was highly successful, proving the selling power of celebrity.
Fashion from the 1960s
King Road: This well-known street was an icon in the fashion of 1960s and was associated with designers such as Vivienne Westwood. It was also a centre for counterculture and involved the hippie and punk eras.
Carnaby Street: The pedestrianized fashion street is located near Oxford Street and Regents Park. The street had been a popular place for fashion boutiques and different designers such as Mary Quant and Sally Tuffin. It provided much of the fashion for mods and hippies of the time.
Laurence Corner: The army surplus shop in London has become a fashion institution, with many celebrities buying the military clothing. The Beatles found one their trademark Sgt Pepper Jackets, other celebrities such Michael Jackson, Jean-Paul Guiltier and Kate Moss are other examples of their customers. The unique and innovative idea lead to the company being featured in many magazines such as Vogue, and being invited to fashion events.
London Fashion Week first took place in 1984. It currently ranks alongside New York, Paris and Milan as one of the 'Big Four' fashion weeks. It presents itself to funders as a trade event that also attracts significant press attention and benefit to taxpayers. It states that it is attended by over 5,000 press and buyers, and has estimated orders of £40m or £100m. A retail-focused event, London Fashion Weekend, takes place immediately afterwards at the same venue and is open to the general public.
The current venue for most of the "on-schedule" events is Somerset House in central London, where a large marquee in the central courtyard hosts a series of catwalk shows by top designers and fashion houses, while an exhibition, housed within Somerset House itself, shows over 150 designers. However, many "off-schedule" events, such as Vauxhall Fashion Scout and On Off, are organized by other private-funded groups and take place at other venues in central London.
Boris Johnson's decision to fly in foreign buyers to London Fashion Week has generated £18.5 million in sales, it was claimed today.