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Like every year, September means fashion. After New York, London takes the torch in hosting the lavish fashion week, followed by Milan and, finally, Paris.
The British Fashion Council is the body that’s responsible for the organization of this big event in the UK capital, which through shows, events and tourism, brings the annual city revenue up to £40,000,000 and engages more than 5000 people, including journalists, buyers and authorised personnel. So much for the alleged recession we’re in.
The biggest fashion brands, alongside emerging young designers, will challenge each other on the catwalk accompanied by sequins, embroidery and Instagram posts. #moodLDNfashionweekon
During the big event, the city itself is transformed and its rhythm changes. Traffic is blocked, taxis are fleeting and the poshest areas are full of characters who, year after year, tread new waters with new selections of quirky accessories or garments swiped from an ethnic group that in reality lives thousands of kilometres from the City – a group that’ll never get their thank yous. As they strut their stuff they’re mentally putting together potential outfits for the next day and playing the part for imaginary street photographers during their walk of fame.
Bloggers, buyers, models, photographers, it-girls, stylists, journalists, reporters, make-up artists, interns, hairdressers and drivers. Envious citizens, curious tourists. You get the idea.
The clothes that are paraded on the catwalks these days are the same ones we’ll be wearing for Spring-Summer 2017. We have yet to put away our swimsuits, hoping to catch the last weekend of September sun yet we’re already thinking about what the flip-flops will be like in Chanel’s latest fashion show and how they’ll probably wipe out our entire budget for the next holiday.
Until ten years ago journalists and buyers admired garments on the runway in February, which they would then introduce to their readers or customers in July, and everything ran smoothly. It didn’t matter if fur rolled into stores in August and swimsuits in January. Everything worked well.
Then Instagram and Facebook came along and the fur-lined shoes that Chiara Ferragni posted 5 minutes ago directly from Dolce&Gabbana’s fashion show was something you had to get your hands on immediately. You want them now, but Google can’t tell you where to buy them.
This is because the system is unprepared for our growing need for instant-gratification and produces the goods only after displaying samples at the fashion shows. And you cannot wear the beautiful furry shoes to your best friend’s graduation. Thank goodness, your father would say.
More forward-thinking brands like Burberry and Tom Ford relaunch, deciding to produce the collections beforehand and offering up their collections in stores and online simultaneously with the show.
Diane Von Furstenberg has the same philosophy: in early 2016, she organized a fashion show using social media in which the models were moving, dancing, singing, getting lots of likes and shares, bypassing the typical catwalk.
Let’s hope that the sequin-brimming business finds some solutions, at least before it stops shining and is swallowed up by the Fast Fashion industry – Mango and Zara, for instance – that’s got us accustomed to twelve collections a year. As they say, things aren’t as they used to be.