With the last party-goers leaving the W hotel and designer clothes hung back in the wardrobe for next season, rest starts settling in for London’s fashion industry. For five days the Strand, Victoria House and many more locations were the epicentre of what is to come next Spring/Summer 2020. We’ve taken it upon ourselves to scout for the upcoming talent and trends, and no, we’re not talking about what the next colour for spring will be. If one thing became clear this Fashion Week, trends and fast fashion are slowly becoming a thing of the past.
This season there was no way around the fact that freshly graduated talent, sustainability and international designers were the three main focuses of the British Fashion Council. London Fashion Week is known for being the most outrageous and offering a platform for emerging talent, and once again did its reputation proud.
It was rumoured that Anna Wintour - the fashion queen - flew in to suss out the Graduate Fashion Week stand in the BFC showroom for herself. Aside from an Official Graduate Fashionweek standing, guests were invited to discover upcoming talent at the Discovery Lab presentation room at 180 Strand, with Sinead Gorey orchestrating a Sunday Morning rave while presenting her graduate collection of bright neon lycra outfits.
Over at Victoria House, there was plenty new designers to discover, whether it was in the little exhibition space before the catwalk, where we spotted our designers Rose Sparks and Vincent Lapp or on the runway. The latter showcased his debut SS20 collection under the brand name AV as a winner of the Ones To Watch Award on Friday. A more wearable collection that carried his signature-style throughout. With glistening beaded dresses, face-covering jumpsuits and corseted gowns each look was outperforming the previous one. At least we thought, a mint green gown with a structured headpiece took our breath and that of the audience away. The Vincent Lapp-habituées might have seen how this referenced the statement octopus pieces from his graduate collection.
The Dutch brand Studio Adaptive Skin followed our designer. Pushing innovation, the label introduced a fabric that responses to its surroundings. Resulting in a striking collection of shapes, telling a process story that was in the making for 5 years. Closing the show other winners caught the eyes - quite literally - of the audience, with a futuristic and grungy looking collection by IA LONDON
with every look heavily adorned with eyes.
Meanwhile, at Somerset House, guests could delve into a world of graduate and emerging talent. Again, we spotted some familiar faces with our designer Chloe Nezianya
presenting her graduate collection on special bespoke plus-size mannequins striving for inclusivity! Alongside her was RCA-alumni Shan Zhang
with her futuristic collection that pokes fun at the fashion industry, with the remarkable Swarovski-adorned metallic corset.
Each Room had their pockets full of surprises, from pleated looks at Syzygy, to funky streetwear pieces at in Gold We Trust and for those with a sweet-tooth, candy-inspired gowns by Alicia Perrillo. SUSTAINABILITY
Unofficially opening LFW 2019 was Aurélie Fontan as a part of Fashion Futures with a talk around sustainability, with this talk the tone was set for the rest of Fashion Week. On Thursday morning, Manon Planche slowed the fashion pace down by organising a brunch, allowing her guests to take a second to relax and take it easy and listen to her inspiring story, much like a metaphor for fashion.
Back at the Strand, the BFC had baptised one of their showrooms the ‘sustainable one’; showcasing the work of designers who follow sustainable practices. Here you could find the most absurd yet inspiring creations, from walnut-tops by our designer Cecily Ophelia, to garments completely made from clothing tags, a hub for change, with designer Patrick Mcdowell offering handy guides on how to be more sustainable.
The emphasis on sustainable, slower and greener fashion reached its climax on Sunday evening with Fashion Futures organising a fundraising catwalk show, showcasing the collections of our designers Aurélie Fontan
, Manon Planche
as well as Daisy Miller and QUILLATTIRE. Opening the show was Liverpool-based designer with a dreamy collection, proving sustainability can be glamorous and girly and extravagant. QUILLATTIRE by Priya Jangda followed with a sustainable, genderless collection that is made from revamped giving a new look to second-hand clothing while incorporating end of line fabrics.
Following her was our designer Manon Planche’s
100% up-cycled collection, this fabric-restriction forced her to be more innovative when it came to fabric manipulation. Resulting in a line-up that you wouldn’t believe was mostly denim unless they told you, with the exception to the stunning closing made from strips and strips of denim-waste.
Closing, what was without a doubt the most inspiring event of LFW, was our designer and Dame Vivienne Westwood Sustainability Award-winner Aurélie Fontan
. For her monochromatic SS20 collection she followed a modular designer practice, involving no stitching and the use of industry and fabric waste. Technicalities aside, Aurélie’s collection elegantly moved with every step of the model, and the strong outlines gave it a modern and stylised, honing in on that Parisian-chic look we all know and love. INTERNATIONAL INVOLVEMENT
It doesn’t come as a surprise that London supports international talent, being such a melting pot of cultures itself. A variety of countries have made it their mission to represent the talent of their country in the British capital. Together with the Hong Kong Design Renaissance, four Hong-Kong based brands presented their collection in the heart of central London. 112 Mountainyam, From Another Planets, Yeung Chin and our own sustainable designer, Loom Loop
each brought their brand essence to life with their presentations, and even when the fire alarm interfered with the presentation, the show must go on. Bringing their fashion - quite literally - to the streets. Could there be anything more ‘London’?
At Victoria House, guests could admire the work of promising designers, selected by the Ying Shen Education to show their collection during the official London Fashion Week. This school has a program dedicated to selecting graduates and senior students to show their collections around the world.
FJU Taiwan followed in their footsteps, presenting 4 of their most promising graduates. First up was Yu-Mei Huang with bold and abstract knits, accessorised with phenomenal mentos-shaped knit bags. However, it was Alison Lai, who made the biggest impression with his dark navy menswear collection, sending a strong message while casting off slight Dior-vibes.
Closer to home, The Swedish School of Textiles brought last year’s cohort of graduates to the runway. From wearable and meticulously cut design to showstoppers, abstract pieces that walk the line between art and fashion and dazzling designs, diversity was seen throughout the collections as well the choice in models!
On the closing day of Fashion Week, Bobby Abley turned the BFC runway rainbow, presenting a wicked collection inspired by The Wizards of Oz, and with Judy Garland blasting through the speakers, without a doubt and an absolute high note to end this year’s Fashion Week on. By Lupe Baeyens