London Fashion Week Throws Spotlight On Young Designers

Models present creations for Ahluwalia during a catwalk presentation for her Spring/Summer 2024 collection, during London Fashion Week in London, on September 15, 2023. (Photo by HENRY NICHOLLS / AFP)

Following New York, the fashion industry came on London on Friday for a catwalk spectacle including established names like Burberry as well as the work of emerging designers who might become household names.

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Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour presented a star-studded gala Thursday evening billed as Britain’s version to New York’s Met Gala.

Kate Moss, Linda Evangelista, Naomi Campbell, and Cindy Crawford were joined by music, theater, and cinema icons ranging from Kate Winslet and Brian Cox to Annie Lennox and Rita Ora.

Actress Sienna Miller however stole the show with a daring pregnancy bump-baring outfit.

Last year’s London Fashion Week, hailed as a comeback after the Covid epidemic, was overshadowed by Queen Elizabeth II’s death and ten days of national grief.

More than 80 designers will display their spring/summer 2024 collections this year, with over 50 catwalk shows and various presentations.

“It’s going to be five really exciting days full of creativity,” said Caroline Rush, chief executive of organisers the British Fashion Council (BFC).

However, London is experiencing a post-Covid depression, with inflation — the highest in the G7 at 6.8 percent in July — and Brexit combining to produce a dismal economic background.

In terms of fashion week, the British capital now behind Paris, Milan, and New York.

Even British former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham has crossed the Channel to present her creations in Paris since last year, indicating the country’s decline in importance.

Fresh UK funding

Models present creations by London-based Turkish designer Bora Aksu during a catwalk presentation for his Spring/Summer 2024 collection, during London Fashion Week in London, on September 15, 2023. (Photo by HENRY NICHOLLS / AFP)

The UK government announced $2 million ($2.5 million) in funding for young designers on Wednesday, which will go to the BFC’s current NewGen initiative.

The scheme, which has sponsored the brightest emerging fashion designers for the past 30 years, aspires to launch tomorrow’s high-end worldwide businesses.

According to the BFC, the UK government cash will be used to stage five fashion weeks over the next two years.

Previous honorees have included the late Alexander McQueen, who died in 2010.

The Design Museum in London is unveiling an exhibition on Saturday that celebrates young NewGen talents and the vitality they have brought to the industry.

“REBEL: 30 Years of London Fashion” showcases about 100 designs, some of which have gone down in pop culture history.

This year, about 20 designers will benefit from the NewGen initiative. Most are recent graduates who have already dressed some of Hollywood’s greatest stars.

Singer Dua Lipa has donned outfits by Ukrainian designer Masha Popova. Zendaya was dressed by Di Petsa.

16Arlington, JW Anderson, Molly Goddard, Richard Quinn, Roksanda, and Simone Rocha are among the most well-known names.

Burberry, the London fashion business founded in 1856, is still the most anticipated show.

It will take place on Monday afternoon and will be British creative director Daniel Lee’s second collection, following his February exhibition.

The ex-Bottega Veneta designer replaced Riccardo Tisci a year ago. Sales have soared in China for the brand with the distinctive check print.

On the final day, Tuesday, Ukrainian designers will present their collections with London once again hosting Ukrainian Fashion Week due to Russia’s invasion.

The BFC is also trying to make London an increasingly inclusive venue for catwalk shows.

It has launched a survey aimed at all those working in the sector, with questions on their gender, sexual orientation, religion, and social background.

“The audit is long overdue and marks the first step towards the vital measurement of the UK fashion industry’s collective progress towards the goal of fair representation,” the BFC said.

The results will be announced later this year.

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