From public shows to Extinction Rebellion: Everything you need to know about London Fashion Week

13th Sep 19 | Beauty

With environmental activists calling for the end of LFW, it’s set to be an eventful long weekend.

Roksanda Catwalk – London Fashion Week February 2019

Now the glitz and glamour of New York Fashion Week has wrapped up, it’s time for London to step into the spotlight.

London Fashion Week (LFW) hits the capital September 13 – 17, promising yet another season of wild beauty looks, incredible clothes and OTT runway shows.

Even though LFW comes around twice a year, this season is set to be a particularly dramatic one.

Here are the key talking points ahead of the spring/summer 2020 collections hitting the catwalk…

Public shows

Fashion shows tend to be incredibly exclusive events. Only the biggest celebs and most important editors are invited, adding to the mystery and allure of fashion week.

Some of that air of mystery is being shattered this season, as the British Fashion Council (BFC) has set up new public-facing shows with House of Holland & self-portrait and Alexa Chung.

However, don’t get too carried away, because it’s not exactly going to bring fashion to the masses. Tickets are expensive, with the standard option coming in at £135 and front row seats at £245, and it’s not even the brands’ latest collection. Instead, House of Holland & self-portrait – probably Alexa Chung too, but that hasn’t been confirmed – will be showing their AW19 collections which hit the runway in February. It’s still a good chance for people to experience a fashion show though, and as we’re coming into autumn, it will provide ample inspiration for your new season wardrobe.

You can book tickets here.

Environmental issues

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We face an existential threat if we do not change course by 2020, yet meaningful action has not yet begun. We need culture to lead the way. Fashion is one of the most polluting industries and one of the most influential. Fashion should be a cultural signifier of our times, and yet it still adheres to an archaic system of seasonal fashion and relentless newness at a time of emergency. 🚨 ⁣ ⁣ On the 26th of July, we sent a letter to the British Fashion Council. “In recognition of the existential threat that faces us, we ask the British Fashion Council to be the leaders the world needs now and to cancel London Fashion Week. We ask that instead the industry convene a People’s Assembly of industry professionals and designers as a platform to declare a Climate and Ecological Emergency, to face the truth and to take action following in the footsteps of The Tate and Culture Declares.” The BFC agree “We are facing a climate change emergency and all need to act” but we don’t see emergency action.⁣ ⁣ We will not stand by while the natural world is being taken from beneath our feet. We will send a clear sign to the fashion industry that business as usual is leading us to extinction.

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We’re increasingly talking about the environmental impact of the fashion industry, and so, understandably, there’s a sharp spotlight on LFW.

Climate activism group Extinction Rebellion (XR) has called for the BFC to cancel it, but since this has evidently not happened, the organisation is planning to take action. Extinction Rebellion posted on Instagram: “We will not stand by while the natural world is being taken from beneath our feet. We will send a clear sign to the fashion industry that business as usual is leading us to extinction.”

XR is hosting a “funeral” for LFW, which it says “will pay respect to its legacy and put it to rest forevermore. This will be a time to pause and reflect on the lives already being lost and that will be lost as a result of climate and ecological breakdown.”

The event will take place from 5.30pm on Tuesday, September 17, and prior to this there will likely be various actions planned to disrupt LFW while it’s on.

Fashion For Relief

Fashion for relief
(Doug Peters/PA)

The queen of the catwalk is back this LFW: Naomi Campbell. The supermodel is returning with Fashion For Relief, her celebrity-packed fashion show which raises money for charity.

We can expect big designers, even bigger supermodels and of course, Campbell herself hitting the runway on September 14.

Politics

Unfortunately, there really is no escaping the ongoing dramas of Brexit, and the fashion industry isn’t immune.

The BFC has said it “continues to communicate with government to emphasise that a no deal Brexit is a scenario that should be avoided. The reality that a no deal could still happen continues to have a negative impact on the fashion industry.”

As we edge closer to the October 31 deadline, it’s highly likely Brexit will be front and centre in many of the collections. We’ll be keeping a close eye on designers like Ashish, known for pulling no punches when it comes to making political statements.

Schedule changes

Peter Pilotto London Fashion Week
The Peter Pilotto show in September of last year (Ian West/PA)

Most seasons, the biggest news ahead of any fashion week is the inevitable schedule changes and new creative directors at big brands. There aren’t too many shocks in the SS20 schedule, but there are some major names missing. Peter Pilotto has decamped to Milan for the season, Vivienne Westwood appears to have a slot at Paris Fashion Week, and instead of going to one of the Big Four, Mary Katrantzou is doing a special show in early October in her homeland, Greece.

Everyone else is present and accounted for, from Victoria Beckham and Richard Quinn to Burberry and Erdem. It’s likely there will be a huge emphasis on beauty at the Victoria Beckham show, as the fashion mogul prepares to launch her beauty line.

© Press Association 2019

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