Here’s what’s happening with London Fashion Week

Shows, presentations and installations will be going ahead for the February edition… just not quite as you know them.

by Mahoro Seward
13 January 2021, 5:46pm

Molly Goddard AW20. Photography Mitchell Sams

Though it was almost a year ago, it seems like just yesterday that we first started mourning the cancellations of physical fashion weeks. There was a sense of hope, though, as we looked to the horizon, willing their return. “We’ll be back on catwalks next February,” we said, “2021 WILL be IRL fashion’s year!” Well, with February all but a couple weeks away, we’re… right where we started. Save for a handful of shows last September, a return to the real-life hustle and bustle of fashion shows remain a truth consigned to our dreams. That was confirmed today by the British Fashion Council, who announced in a statement that the next London Fashion Week, set to take place February 19-23, will be going ahead as a digital-only event. 

At this stage, it’s an anticipated announcement. It’s not entirely new territory for the BFC either, who successfully held pandemic-proof, digital-first showcasing events in June and September of last year. The main difference this time around, though, is that shows, presentations and installations will in fact be allowed to go ahead… without the audience. Instead, they’ll be filmed and photographed in line with COVID-relevant regulations, and shared with the world via our screens.

That may make for cheery reading, but the organisation of an event that typically sees hundreds of industry workers moving across international borders isn’t going to be easy. It’s a task made only more difficult by strict testing and self-isolation requirements currently in place for international arrivals to the UK. That’s why Caroline Rush, the BFC’s Chief Executive, has called for “the Government to […] allow key creative and model talent to travel to and from the UK with a phased introduction of quarantine exemptions for the fashion industry, in order to carry out essential business.” 

Obviously, exempting workers in specific industries from current coronavirus regulations isn’t a decision that will pass without debate. Even so, Caroline’s statement highlights the existential turmoil that the pandemic continues to inflict upon the industry at large, and the crucial need for government intervention to prevent further damage. In the meantime, though, try to occupy your mind with positive thoughts. And we’ll see you on the frow next February (we hope)!

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London Fashion Week