The (Fashion) Show Must Go On

By Cordelia Speed, Contributor

Whilst the fashion industry is constantly moving forward and at an ever-accelerating pace, the Covid-19 pandemic has forced society to slow down. 

As we closed our doors to the outside world and 9-5’s, we have reflected and realised that although times are certainly trying now, we were not necessarily that contented before. A YouGov survey revealed that only nine per cent of the British public wish to return to life as it was pre-lockdown. This begs the question as to what our ‘new normal’ will be, and how we can ensure that it is one in which all of us want to live.

Together, we are working towards a more positive future for the fashion industry and monumental changes are already being put in place. Last month The British Fashion Council organised a London Fashion Week that was like no other. The show itself was gender neutral, digital, and ultimately acted as an interactive platform for artistic storytelling. The public was invited to experience the formerly exclusive event through the London Fashion Week digital platform which included designer interviews, podcasts and livestreams. Inclusivity is central to the ‘new normal’ for fashion and it’s here to stay.

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It was back in January 2016 that a feature in Vogue Italia referred to a collection as “generation gender neutral” marking a shift towards a more liberated and androgynous take on style and silhouettes. The merging of menswear with womenswear at fashion week opens up a whole new avenue of experimentation for designers and encourages us to deconstruct the very notion of gender and to celebrate its fluidity. Not only did this event offer an innovative solution to the issues posed by the current pandemic, but it also shows great promise for a more inclusive and sustainable path for the industry. 

This revolutionisation of fashion week is not only positive for society but also for the environment. A report by Zero to Market showed that during the four main fashion weeks and trade shows across the globe, fashion buyers and brands are responsible for 241,000 tons of CO2 emissions. Whilst the efforts to off-set this damage undertaken by the likes of Burberry and Gucci last season are certainly to be applauded, going digital is the kind of forward-thinking we need to aspire to in order to realise and implement maximum positive change. 

Whilst the ethical and environmental problems that are currently facing fashion are by no means new, it is clear that the ‘new normal’ will be to challenge the industry’s obstacles and to seek out sustainable solutions. Lobbying group Fashion Roundtable have been working around the clock to create a ‘new normal' that represents a shared vision for society as a whole. The views and input of leading industry experts and consumers alike are essential to the project and all are invited to their weekly webinars which focus on overcoming the issues facing different areas of the industry. Although the pandemic has physically separated us, in spirit we are now more connected than ever and have learnt that when we share a vision, we can become a collective force for change. 

At LDC, we want to be a part of the change. For our own Fashion Week, we will be partnering with landlord Capco to invite all kinds of creative individuals to blur the lines between the physical and digital experience. As such, this fashion week we will be hosting a number of “Phygital” fashion and beauty events, all socially distanced of course. To do so we will be hosting these events in our shoppable windows across central London. We will also be continuing with our live workshops and tutorials where we will be tackling some the industry’s harsh truths. Our lives really allow our audience to learn more about the story behind our brands. More importantly, the fashion shows will help our designers get the recognition they deserve in order to promote a positive change whereby people will start to live a more sustainable lifestyle. 

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The ‘new normal’ for the fashion industry has the priorities of the people and the planet at its heart. This Fashion Week LDC is going to go big so make sure you watch this space.

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