Celebrating 40 years of London Fashion Week
The event welcomes models of different body types, ages, and skin tones to further promote diversity and inclusivity. (AFP photo)

LONDON: Creators, influencers, buyers and celebrities will gather in London on Friday for a huge five-day extravaganza celebrating the 40th anniversary of the British capital’s fashion week. Organizers hope it will give a boost to young designers who have been hit hard by the bleak economy.

Around 60 up-and-coming talents, along with big names from Burberry and more, will present their Autumn/Winter 2024 line across London using a combination of live and virtual stages.

Unlike Paris and Milan Fashion Weeks, which mainly showcase well-established brands, London Fashion Week features young talent such as Ukrainian Masha Popova and British-Nigerian designer Tor Coker, whose event opens on Friday. It is celebrated as a platform for .

Over the weekend, JW Anderson (designer Jonathan Anderson was named Vogue’s 2023 Designer of the Year), Richard Quinn, Ahluwalia, and the recently unveiled Jean Paul Familiar names will appear, including Simone Rocha, who designed Gaultier’s last haute couture Spring/Summer 2024 collection. In January.

The event comes at a time of upheaval for the British fashion industry, with post-Brexit trade obstacles and the cost of living crisis due to inflation over the past two years, making many young fashion brands less viable to invest in British fashion shows. I have doubts.

Last September, rising star Dilara Findikoglu made headlines when she canceled her show days before the event due to financial reasons.

The industry, which employs nearly 900,000 people in the UK and contributes 21 billion pounds ($26 billion) to the British economy, is facing “incredibly difficult times”, according to London Fashion Week. director Caroline Rush told AFP in an interview.

But the takeaway from 40 years is that “in the most economically challenging times, we see some of the most amazing creativity,” she said.

“There’s almost a visceral reaction to what’s going on at home,” Rush said.

“I hope that the creativity we will see in the coming days will be incredibly uplifting, and that it will speak to the role of culture and creativity in society,” she added.


In 1984, a tent was set up in the car park of the former Commonwealth Institute in Kensington, West London, to host the first London Fashion Week.

Over the years, with the help of rebellious designers such as Vivienne Westwood and John Galliano, the city was put on the fashion map during the ‘Cool Britannia’ era of the 1990s, when Stella McCartney dressed supermodels Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell. It was firmly positioned.

But since then, the week has lost some of its charm, with star designers and houses such as Alexander McQueen and Victoria Beckham preferring to show their designs in Paris.

But London’s status as a talent incubator has been cemented by the British Fashion Council’s NEWGEN sponsorship program, which helps young designers start their careers.

And while it may not be as influential as Paris or Milan, the event, the youngest of the big four fashion weeks, continues to be praised for its freedom, radicalism and unconventional approach.

This year’s event will encourage wider diversity and inclusivity by welcoming models of different body types, ages and skin tones.

Collections from designers drawing on Caribbean, Iranian, Indian and Ethiopian identities and inspirations will also be on display.

British brand Burberry, one of the event’s lead designers, is building excitement for British creative director Daniel Lee’s third collection, which will be unveiled on Monday.

Luxury department store Harrods has recently been decked out in Burberry’s new signature color, Night Blue, from its porters’ uniforms to its store façade.

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