Designers To Stage Consumer-Facing Shows at LFW

Many British-based designers are deciding to use the tail end of London Fashion Week to promote business through a series of runway shows, which will take place over London Fashion Weekend, beginning on Feb. 25, which is two days after the official LFW. The affair will be hosted this year near Sloane Square at the Saatchi Gallery, and will feature designers such as Holly Fulton, Mary Katrantzou, Temperley London, and Emilia Wickstead. Each designer will have one day for control of the runway, as planned by the British Fashion Council, and their collection will be shown on the runway up to four times over the course of their day.

Designers To Stage Consumer-Facing Shows at LFW

And it has received a lot of positive response from those involved, according to interviews conducted by WWD. “It is a great initiative and as a British fashion brand I want to give all my support,” said Alice Temperley.

“It is a very good way to connect with consumers and for them to see the clothes worn and moving. Other very talented designers will also be showing, so it is a good experience for those interested in British fashion.”

Holly Fulton was also very vocal in her support of the event. “To be able to engage and assess reaction firsthand is always the best case scenario, and we can gain valuable feedback on how the market received our work and also how they perceive the brand, which can in turn affect our commercial output and collaborative projects,” she said. “I am hoping for an enthusiastic response and an eager crowd.”

So the designers are happy, and it is also expected that the customers will be happy as well. A spokesman from the BFC disclosed of the event that it has “seen an increase in interest from both global and British brands to be involved with London Fashion Weekend, as the event offers the opportunity to reach a targeted and focused consumer audience of more than 16,000 people.”

The BFC was confronted with many requests from other designers who wished to participate, but executives kept their initial plan of showcasing a single designer each day. This way, the brands can “own the day, and it ensures maximum eyeballs on the collection,” the spokesman added.

This concept was also enacted last year, and one featured designer was Christopher Raeburn, who spoke of his experiences with the London Fashion Weekend event.

“It was a very positive and professional experience,” he said in his interview with WWD. “I was able to do an interview beforehand discussing the brand, which delivered a more informed approach and generated a stronger reaction from the public. Staging the catwalk show enabled us to open up opportunities to expand our visibility and presence as a brand, and it worked well as it continued to showcase the fall collection as it was dropping into store.”

Raeburn also said that he would be interested in participating again. Designer Henry Holland also had showed in the same year, and was thrilled with the idea of being more inclusive to the general public. He embraced the idea of social media’s “real time” prospects, which contributed to his insights.

“Our experience was great; we definitely felt an uplift in social media traction around the weekend – and also afterward,” Holland said.

London Fashion Weekend is now a biannual event, and is the only one of its kind currently offered in the fashion industry. The Saatchi Gallery will not only show the runways, but there will also be places to shop and presentations on the latest trends. There will be 150 brands selling products in the shopping area, including brands Linda Farrow, Fyodor Golan, J. JS Lee, Paper London, Mawi, Osman, and Pringle of Scotland.

Talks and presentations will be hosted by figures like Charlotte Dellal of Charlotte Olympia, Katharine Hamnett, Nicholas Kirkwood, founder of Premier Models Carole White, and Emilia Wiskstead.
This event first took place in 1998. The BFC has made a recent change to the purpose of the event, now further promoting its connection to the consumer. Tickets are on sale, and range from 20 to 145 pounds, or $28 to $208, depending on if you want a bronze of luxe ticket.

Photos courtesy of Vogue

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