London Fashion Week faces yet another virtual showing for Autumn/Winter 2021


It is a digital affair once again for the Autumn/WInter 2021 shows of London Fashion Week. Pictured here is London based menswear brand Nicholas Daley. Photo: Instagram/@londonfashionweek

After an online New York Fashion Week, London Fashion Week begins on Friday (Feb 19) on a virtual format due to a coronavirus lockdown.

Mainstays like Victoria Beckham are shunning the event, but others like Burberry will embrace the online format.

Despite the absence of global celebrities and fashionistas, designers such as Turkey's Bora Aksu, Britain's Molly Goddard and Ireland's Simone Rocha will stream their collections on the London Fashion Week website.

Most of the 94 designers participating in the show will broadcast video highlights of their collections showcasing menswear, womenswear or mixed fashions in an event that is now gender-neutral.

Read more: Visual magic or digital noise? Fashion makes the best of online-only shows

Monday (Feb 22) will see British brand Burberry – known for its tailored trenchcoats – will present its menswear Autumn/Winter collection for 2021, designed by Italian creative director Riccardo Tisci.

In September, the brand presented its Spring/Summer 2021 collection in a film set in the middle of a forest and broadcast live on Twitch.

The streaming platform has grown in popularity, broadcasting live video gameplay and offering the possibility of live commentary. More than 40,000 people watched the innovative show, which could be viewed from different perspectives.

Impact of Brexit

Former Spice Girl and designer Victoria Beckham presented her creations a few days before London Fashion Week. Her collection, as she explained, mixes the seasons and aims to be "optimistic but realistic".

Beckham has been living under coronavirus lockdown in Florida, where her husband, former England football captain David Beckham, is now one of the co-owners of the American professional soccer club Inter Miami.

During the pandemic, the former pop star said "people still want to dress up" but with "a need for comfort". Her designs include military details that evoke a "sense of protection – a toughness", she added.

Her collection also exhibits a lighter, more delicate side with dresses made from Jersey fabric or with prints of flowers and goldfish. The more joyful designs are in stark contrast to the grim outlook for the fashion industry in Britain, seriously impacted by the pandemic.

Read more: Haute couture designers turn to arthouse filmmakers for online fashion week

The UK suffered more than 118,000 Covid-19 deaths and has been under national lockdown measures since January.

The fashion sector, which employs more than 890,000 people and contributed £35 billion (RM198 billion)) to the UK GDP in 2019, has also been hit by Brexit and the end of free movement between the EU and the island nation.

In early February, hundreds of fashion figures – including top former models like Twiggy and Yasmin Le Bon – signed an open letter, coordinated by the industry forum fashion Roundtable, warning the sector risked being decimated because of Brexit.

To increase the visibility of young talent in the pandemic, the British fashion Council, which represents the industry, has partnered with the social media giant TikTok.

The umbrella organisation has also joined forces with Clearpay, a group allowing customers to "buy now pay later" to boost sales. – AFP

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