It only feels like a week or two since the SS18 show season ended and here we are on the cusp of season switchover. For those of you who aren’t au fait with the fashion calendar (and I know you’re out there because you’ve tweeted, messaged and emailed me about this subject), there are two buying seasons which the schedule works around. Spring / Summer (SS) and Fall / Winter (FW) – referred to in British fashion publishing as AW.
OK, now you’ve got the basics, let’s ramp up the deets. So, because Fashion Month is geared towards buyers and press, the collections are shown in sample sizes and in advance of the season switchover. Ergo, Spring / Summer collections are shown in Fall, and Fall / Winter collections are shown in Spring. Got that? This gives buyers the chance to select the designs they want to run with in advance of the season and designers the time to make a full collection with pieces in a range of sizes. This is why the garments you see on the runway might have raw edges or be finished in places with tacking thread – not really visible on the runway but allows for last minute fit alterations.
London Fashion Week is where the magic happens. I’m based in the UK so you may think I’m biased but I’ve frequented The Big Four throughout my career in fashion and there’s just something special about London. Whether it’s the emerging talent keen to please, or reinventions of the classics from stalwarts like Paul Costelloe, there’s just so much to take in during Fashion Week in London.
That’s another thing, London Fashion Week is a pretty singular event, it has two main locations for it’s designated show spaces, along with several designer selected satellite spaces for those who want to offer something extra special. Now this may sound simple but there’s a lot of confusion and exploitation around London Fashion Week‘s name; basically, if it’s not official London Fashion Week, then it’s just not London Fashion Week. Let me explain, throughout the duration of London Fashion Week, brands, independents, designers, charities and other companies will capitalise on the traffic (both online and physical foot flow) and buzz of London Fashion Week by staging their events at the same time and trading off the name. Put simply, these are nothing at all to do with London Fashion Week and aren’t affiliated with either Fashion Scout or the British Fashion Council in any way, but they may use the power of suggestion and excellent timing to let you think that they are. It’s a sneaky and very naughty move that hasn’t gone unnoticed by the BFC who seek to ban any professionals using LFW tags on their non-LFW content, from London Fashion Week events. Still with me??
Completely separate fashion events, which make an independent and one-sided decision, align themselves to the Fashion Week schedule and are allowed to say that they take place ‘at the same time as’ or ‘during but not affiliated with’ London Fashion Week. Yet you’ll find it’s very rare that they declare this, with the exception of the Independent London Fashion Week Designers Association (ILFWDA) who held their inaugural event in 2018 and stated that their event would take place ‘during London Fashion Week’. Still a little woolly though right? Basically if it doesn’t have the official London Fashion Week logo featured on it’s advertising and it’s not on either the ‘On’ or ‘Off’ schedule of Fashion Scout or BFC, then it’s just not LFW.
I’m not saying there’s any shame in running a non-LFW affiliated event or schedule, some independents are capitalising on the foot flow and interest successfully without infringing any of the rules around advertising a fashion event. Kudos. There is however shame in claiming that an event is part of something, when it isn’t. It’s like me turning up to a movie theatre to see Suicide Squad in full Harley Quinn regalia claiming that I should be allowed to see the movie for free because I am in fact, Harley Quinn. Just for transparency Voyeurs, I have never done this, but for illustration purposes, you get it right?
The reason for this post is that it came up on a night out with a Fashion PR, a couple of Fashion Editors and some other Fash Friends. We talked about how Influencers are called out for minor things left, right and centre, but never brands for blatantly flouting the very clear guidelines, nay rules, on running any kind of event. The general consensus is that if a brand is using Fashion Week as a way of drawing your attention to their own event, it’s because they don’t have confidence in their own brand without the security blanket of the London Fashion Week tag. Basically, if you know anything about the schedule and how easy it is to check, you don’t do it. Also, it makes you look like a massive douche.
It’s not just fashion either, it’s like your local football club running a kids club during The World Cup, which is great, awesome in fact, but if they claim that kids club is on The World Cup schedule is it still so great? Yeah, now you get it. Feel free to stop scrolling so you can facepalm.