usbuyerslondonfashionweek.jpgIt's not good news for designers showing at next week's London Fashion Week, with some of the biggest US retailers bypassing it due to “exorbitant” prices.

According to the Financial Times, buyers from department stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Barneys will shun London in favour of Paris, which will be their only European destination this season. They cite a weak US dollar and current economic woes as the reason for avoiding the UK's number one fashion event.

For the first time in 20 years there will be no-one from Barneys attending LFW. Julie Gilhart, fashion director of Barneys, claims that although UK designers could still make sales in Paris, their pieces would have to be “really special, really different and really worth it”.

Others believe that UK designer prices are too high to warrant their presence at LFW. “The product is very, very expensive, so it has got to be very special, and that’s a very difficult scenario for a new brand,” said Ron Frasch, president of Saks Fifth Avenue. “It’s a real struggle for small businesses, which most of the London businesses are,” he said. “At a time like this it’s very difficult to elbow your way in. The young designers will never be successful.” Ouch!

Another New York retailer, who wished to remain anonymous, said: "You can buy a piece by Balenciaga for a certain price, and a piece by Giles for the same price, and when you put them on the floor, which do you think will move faster? That’s the problem.”

The British Fashion Council has admitted that "the current economic climate has affected things." That's to say, the least...

With such a great, young and diverse mix of designers set to show next week, I wonder just how long the glitz and glimmer will remain once it's all over and things get down to the business of buying and selling...