Sustainable designs at the heart of London’s fashion

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London (AFP) – Emerging and enduring designers will have the chance to shine at London Fashion Week from Friday with major brands such as Burberry, Victoria Beckham and Vivienne Westwood either absent or sticking to digital formats for the five-day catwalk extravaganza. days.

Burberry has said without explanation that it will be hosting a live show in March which is not part of the event, while ex-Spice Girl Beckham – who last hosted a live show in London there is two years old – mentioned cost issues.

Following in the footsteps of designer brands such as Gucci and Dolce & Gabbana, Serbian designer Roksanda Ilincic will sell non-fungible tokens (NFTs), offering digital ownership of a 3D image of a dress from her brand.

The week kicks off with sustainable label SOHUMAN, created by Spaniard Javier Aparici who left a career in finance to work in fashion and promises “radical transparency” about the factories that make his clothes.

As sustainability and upcycling become industry buzzwords, Tuesday’s shows from Britain’s Bethany Williams and Ireland’s Richard Malone will also generate interest.

Serbian designer Roksanda Ilincic will sell non-fungible tokens (NFTs), offering digital ownership of a 3D image of a dress from her brand Daniel LEALAFP

Williams’ materials include abandoned festival tents for clothes and scrap books for bags, while Malone’s designs feature fragments of materials including scrap leather.

Beckham, Burberry

The London event, which will showcase the Autumn/Winter 2022 collections, was held entirely almost a year ago as it coincided with a nationwide lockdown. Live parades resumed last September.

This time there will be nearly 40 such shows, including Simone Rocha, Molly Goddard, Roksanda, Erdem, Rejina Pyo and Ozwald Boateng whose surprise last-minute addition to the program will be her first in London fashion for 12 years. .

Other designers are sticking to digital formats, like punk icon Westwood, who will showcase his latest designs in a video.

Burberry has confirmed to AFP that it will hold a live show in London on March 11, alongside London Fashion Week. No other details were given about the decision.

It will be the brand’s first live event in two years, following its appearance on the London Fashion Week 2020 programme.

Beckham last held a live show for her luxury brand in London in February 2020, then held online shows in September 2020 and February 2021.

The former Spice Girl told the Evening Standard in April 2021 that she would “probably not” be able to afford a live show in September that year due to high costs. His brand did not participate.

Victoria Beckham last held a live show for her luxury brand in London in February 2020
Victoria Beckham last held a live show for her luxury brand in London in February 2020 Daniel LEALAFP

Emerging designers to watch this week include Albanian-born Nensi Dojaka, who won the prestigious LVMH award for young fashion designers last year, and Steven Stokey-Daley, creative director of Liverpool-based SS Daley.

There will also be a chance to spot future stars at Sunday shows hosted by Central Saint Martins, a leading fashion college, and Fashion East, a non-profit talent incubator.

In an innovation introduced during Britain’s first national lockdown in June 2020, fashion shows will be available online on the organiser’s website.

“Very difficult years”

After being hit hard by the pandemic, Britain’s fashion sector, which employed around 890,000 people in 2019, is looking for a path to recovery.

Caroline Rush, chief executive of the British Fashion Council, which organizes fashion week, told AFP the industry had had “a very difficult two years”, exacerbated by Brexit-related changes which came into effect on January 31, 2020.

“Brexit continues to be a challenge for the fashion industry…whether it’s tariffs or paperwork, visas for people to work in different countries,” Rush said.

After the disruption of the pandemic, there will be nearly 40 live shows
After the disruption of the pandemic, there will be nearly 40 live shows NIKLAS HALLE’N AFP

The lifting of pandemic travel restrictions allowed at least some international visitors to attend fashion week.

“We won’t have presence from many Asian countries that are still unable to travel,” Rush said. “But business can still be done.”

A 2021 report published by Oxford Economics for Creative England and the Creative Industries Federation found that with the right investment, the creative sector could recover from the pandemic faster than the UK economy as a whole.

It estimated growth of more than 26% in the four years to 2025, which would contribute around £132.1 billion ($180 billion, €153 billion) to Britain’s economy.

The five-day London showcase will be followed by fashion weeks in Milan and Paris later this month.

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