Is This the Democratisation of Fashion Week?

Decoded Fashion - Weekly Stories - London Fashion Week Democratisation
Image source: London Fashion Weekend

Ahead of London Fashion Week, the British Fashion Council has laid out new plans with the aim to increase consumer engagement during the event. Firstly they have partnered with Ocean Outdoor, a media company which specialises in digital billboards, to enable live streaming of London Fashion Week to the public. While you may have seen similar screens pop up around London during previous fashion weeks, this time the BFC are thinking bigger; Ocean Outdoor’s screens will be located at 60 outdoor locations across the UK, bringing in an estimated viewership of 35 million people.

Other initiatives in place for LFW include talks, in association with American Express, with the likes of Gareth Pugh and Sølve Sundsbo, and some brands intend to make individual efforts to connect with the consumer. Topshop.com, for example, will showcase a podcast series featuring NewGen designers like Ryan Lo and Danielle Romeril discussing the inspirations behind their latest work.

Across the pond, tickets to New York Fashion Week are on sale to the public at a premium. London, meanwhile, has London Fashion Weekend (February 25th – 28th), which will give those outside of the industry set the opportunity to see FW16 runway shows from four esteemed London designers: Mary Katrantzou, Temperley London, Holly Fulton and Emilia Wickstead. In comparison to New York’s lofty ticket prices, entry to London Fashion Weekend would cost you as little as £20.

Recently, Burberry, Vetements, Tommy Hilfiger and Tom Ford have all announced that they will no longer be conforming to the traditional fashion calendar. Vetements will be showing its women’s and men’s collections in January and June, two months ahead of the rest of Paris Fashion Week’s shows. Burberry and Tom Ford, meanwhile, will be releasing their new-season wares for sale as soon as they’ve done the rounds on the catwalk. In a statement, Burberry’s Christopher Bailey said these changes “will allow us to build a closer connection between the experience that we create with our runway shows and the moment when people can physically explore the collections for themselves.”

>There’s no denying that the fashion system is undergoing a major overhaul. Will the BFC’s ‘consumer first’ initiatives – and individual brands’ efforts to defy the rules of the long-standing fashion calendar – really help to democratise fashion and, in turn, boost consumer spending? Once the AW16 shows have come to a close, it’s likely the future of fashion will be much clearer.

Join the BFC at our London Summit, this May 17-18, where they will be looking to at the future of fashion weeks. Super early bird tickets available until February 20, book your ticket here.

Reported by Grace Howard