Gemma's Adventures in Fashion: Is this goodbye to London Fashion Week as we know it?
Gemma Cartwright writes...
John Galliano, Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney, Matthew Williamson, Luella Bartley, Alice Temperley, Zandra Rhodes, Antonio Berardi, Vivienne Westwood, Julien MacDonald.
That is but a tiny number of the big names in fashion that have shown at London Fashion Week. Add to them the new generation of talent like Christopher Kane, Marios Schwab, Peter Pilotto, Jonathan Saunders and, of course, Gareth Pugh, and you have a veritable fashion hall of fame.
Why, then, is London being pushed into a corner, forced shorten its Fashion Week to four days in order to accomodate New York and Milan? According to The Independent, tomorrow is judgement day, as we find out what's going to happen in February, and whether London Fashion Week - which generates £100m a year in revenue and publicity - will be forced to condense under pressure from its rivals.
Right now, the person I'd most like to speak to is Nathan Jenden. He's a London Fashion Week designer with a vested interest in New York Fashion Week, since he's also creative director of Diane Von Furstenberg. And who is the head of the CFDA - the people who want to move New York Fashion Week into London's slot? Why, DVF herself, of course. Talk about being caught in the middle.
Not that it's Ms Von Furstenberg's fault personally. She's under pressure from a lot of designers in New York who feel NY Fashion Week is just too early, considering the public holidays and factory closures that take place before it begins.
Milan should take some of the blame too, for refusing to push their dates back a little to give London those few extra days to showcase the work of so many talented designers. With only four days of shows in our capital, not only will our economy suffer, but a lot of great new young designers will be forced to swap catwalk shows for presentations or videos, or will have no choice but to skip out of fashion week entirely because of scheduling clashes. More big names will no doubt desert our shores for New York, Paris or Milan, even though they would undoubtedly prefer to show in their hometown if the support was there.
I feel so disappointed for young talent in London. What our fashion week has always done much better than any rival is support the up and coming designers. Look at Gareth Pugh, who in only a few seasons has gone from living off his Topshop NewGen sponsorship to dressing Kylie and showing in Paris. One might argue that if all these designers are only using London as a stepping stone, is it really that terrible that the week being shortened? I would respond by saying that for every Gareth Pugh who leaves for bigger things, there's another waiting in the wings. If they have nowhere to start, we'll miss them entirely. Imagine a life without the designers who started in London. There'd be no John Galliano, for starters.
London Fashion Week has given me so many memories and so many amazing experiences that I'm really upset at the prospect of it becoming a tiny speck on a much bigger picture. It is the most creative, cosmopolitan and fun week of the fashion calendar, and for it to be snubbed so easily by more commercial rivals is a terrible shame.
Some people seem to have forgotten where they came from, and that really makes me appreciate the likes of Luella, Nicole Farhi, Alice Temperley, Vivienne Westwood, Julien MacDonald, Ben de Lisi and co all the more. London is so intricately a part of fashion history that it deserves its time to shine.