London Fashion Weekend


LONDON — In an effort to cater more to the end-consumer, the British Fashion Council is combining London Fashion Week and London Fashion Weekend under one umbrella, London Fashion Week Festival.

London Fashion Weekend was a biannual, four-day ticketed event, held at the Saatchi Gallery. It took place each season after London Fashion Week and was aimed at consumers.

The showcase, which launched in 1998, was initially created to help designers clear their merchandise and the BFC curated the initiative. It featured runway shows, designer talks, shopping galleries and trends presentations.

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The BFC said the change is due to “an increasingly big appetite from both brands and public to open up our industry” to a wider audience.

“We saw this in September with the see-now-buy-now collections,” said Caroline Rush, British Fashion Council chief executive officer.

“London Fashion Week and London Fashion Week Men’s will still showcase the best talent to industry professionals, giving the designers the opportunity to expand their businesses and get incredible international media exposure.

“London Fashion Week Festival is a natural continuation of the increasingly popular London Fashion Weekend. There will be a lot of different ways for the public and businesses to get involved.”

London Fashion Week Festival will also feature more consumer-facing events — even during the trade-focused runway shows.

London Fashion Week will run from Feb. 17 to 21. London Fashion Week Festival will start on Feb. 23 and run until Feb. 26. Tickets for the festival will be available for purchase at londonfashionweekfestival.com on Tuesday.

In addition, the BFC is moving its seasonal women’s showcase venue from Brewer Street Car Park back to The Store Studios at 180 Strand. The BFC had moved to Soho last year, where it took over two floors of the Brewer Street Car Park, an Art Deco building designed by architect JJ Joass in 1929.

Situated near the British Fashion Council’s Somerset House headquarters, 180 Strand has a runway space as well as a sprawling presentation area on the first floor. It has recently served as the venue for men’s fashion week in the British capital. The space was also the site of the Louis Vuitton Series 3 exhibition and had served as the runway show venue for Christopher Kane, Roksanda and Thomas Tait.

Earlier this year, the BFC revealed that London Collections: Men would change its name as of January. The four-day showcase is now called London Fashion Week Men’s. This name-change was meant to reflect the evolution of the event from a two-day showcase to a four-day one, and clarify the scope of the event for the end-consumer.

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This has been a season of change for London, which has seen many brands and designers change their show strategy for myriad reasons — including Burberry’s devision to stage see-now-buy-now, co-ed shows.

The BFC’s move comes at a time when the fashion show system is undergoing a sea change. Earlier this month, Shanghai Fashion Week wrapped up its spring edition with shows that brought fashion consumers into the tents.

“We need to do this. Fashion needs to pay attention to consumers; we are going to keep on making the industry-focused events more professional but also welcome consumers to participate more in other parts in the future,” said Lu Xiaolei, the vice secretary general of Shanghai Fashion Week.

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Earlier this year, the Council of Fashion Designers of America commissioned Boston Consulting Group to explore the viability and logistics of consumer-oriented fashion weeks.

The CDFA said future approaches will vary with each brand, their tier and in-house strategy. The study showed that “it is up to each designer and brand to define what is best.”

RELATED STORY: CFDA Study Calls for Change >>

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