This past weekend, I was able to attend my first ever fashion week in London. Typically not open to public, fashion week is a celebration of new, innovative art and design coming together. As of British Council September 2019, London Fashion Week was the first to open its doors to the public.

This meant that LFW would dedicate two days to hosting the public, opening doors to 6 catwalks shows during the height of LFW. Guests could buy tickets for 2 hour slots, which included the following experiences:

  • Designer show (this year, designers were Temperley London and De La Valli)
  • Industry panel, with personnel such as Alice Temperley and Tommy Hilfiger
  • Immersive designer exihibition
  • Positive Fashion exihibit

I was able to attend the Temperely London show, which showcased Spring/Summer ’20 looks and an industry discussion hosted by Alice Temperley on starting a new brand and her life story.

Although the whole experience really played up the consumerism that exists in the fashion industry, it was also inspiring and incredible to be in the midst of the whole fashion scene in London. There were so many incredible people who came in their best clothes: whether that meant they wore the most expensive items in their wardrobe or found the ugliest and quirkiest piece to put on.

It makes sense that the BFC would open shows up to the public – I think it’s a great financial and awareness move, and it helps consumers express themselves, better understand the industry that most people think is so trivial and materialistic. It opens up eyes and allows consumers to see the art and tedious details that go into running your own clothing line or setting up a 15 min catwalk.

I must say I highly enjoyed the experience. It’s not every day that 135 pounds can get you a seat at the table, and yet, there I was in the midst of it all, zebra pants on and champagne in hand.

The way you dress impacts many things in our world – from the environment to the economy to your own psychology. I think the way fashion can bring together the intricacy of art but also the way we think about ourselves and the globalization that exists around us is really something special.

I love this quote from Devil Wears Prada because it simply illustrates how much bigger the industry is than what typical consumers think:

You think this has nothing to do with you. You go to your closet and you select… I don’t know… that lumpy blue sweater, for instance because you’re trying to tell the world that you take yourself too seriously to care about what you put on your back. But what you don’t know is that that sweater is not just blue, it’s not turquoise. It’s not lapis. It’s actually cerulean. And you’re also blithely unaware of the fact that in 2002, Oscar de la Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns. And then I think it was Yves Saint Laurent… wasn’t it who showed cerulean military jackets? … And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of eight different designers. And then it, uh, filtered down through the department stores and then trickled on down into some tragic Casual Corner where you, no doubt, fished it out of some clearance bin. However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs and it’s sort of comical how you think that you’ve made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact, you’re wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room from a pile of stuff.

Miranda Priestly, Devil Wears Prada

As we expand into more experiential retail and continue to move into a world of widespread information, I hope we’ll become more in-tune with the trillion dollar industry that we encounter everyday.

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