After an uncertain 18 months for the fashion industry which saw the cancellation of shows around the world and forced London Fashion Week to go digital for the first time ever in February, fashion month is back with a bang. With a mix of in-person shows and digital activations set to take place in all the fashion capitals, London Fashion Week is returning from Friday 17 to Tuesday 21 September with a unique digital physical hybrid, showcasing the latest collections of established names like Vivienne Westwood, Emilia Wickstead and Erdem, as well as providing a platform for exciting emerging talent through their Newgen space. Here we’ve picked out the highlights to look out for at London Fashion Week 2021.
This year, Newgen is partnering with TikTok to host a show space for the hottest emerging talent in fashion at the Old Selfridges Hotel, working with designer Henry Holland as the Creative Producer. Names to look out for include Albanian-born Central Saint Martins graduate Nensi Dojaka, whose sexy-chic label has been worn by Bella Hadid and Adwoa Aboah and just earnt her the coveted LVMH Prize, and Liverpool-based S. S. Daley, whose sustainable menswear designs have exploded since Harry Styles wore them in his recent ‘Golden’ music video – both will be holding their first ever live shows in London.
Other standout designers include British-Indian Supriya Lele, known for her Noughties-inspired pieces beloved by Dua Lipa, and Chinese-born Yuhan Wang, whose cult label is stocked everywhere from Browns to Dover Street Market. Alongside the catwalk shows and presentations, TikTok will also be hosting a series of exclusive workshops, panel discussions and events in the venue.
Another up-and-coming name likely to draw attention is Harris Reed. Following a scene-stealing turn dressing none other than Iman for the Met Gala, the designer is making their London Fashion Week catwalk debut with an off-schedule show of their gender fluid pieces at the Serpentine Gallery.
As part of their new hybrid approach, the British Fashion Council is partnering with Clearpay on an innovative initiative that will introduce new shopping experiences and special designer-led content to LFW.
KNWLS by Charlotte Knowles
For the launch of her newly rebranded label, KNWLS, south London-based designer Charlotte Knowles will be offering fans a virtual front row seat to her showcase, which will include an exclusive ‘See Now, Buy Now’ shoppable feature so you can purchase straight from the catwalk. Meanwhile, sequin-loving London-based brand Halpern has created a one-off series of behind-the-scenes films, giving unprecedented access to designer Michael Halpern’s process while creating the new collection.
While most of the major shows are reserved for industry insiders and invitees only, a number of brands are taking a more democratic approach and opening the doors to the public with exciting presentations. From 17 – 24 September, Phoebe English is hosting an installation work at The British Library, where visitors can get a behind-the-scenes look at the designer’s approach to research and development over the past year, and how that has influenced the new season collection. Sustainability is, of course, a focus, with the installation offering a look into English’s search for a way to design clothes that put more back into our natural systems than they take out.
Meanwhile Tokyo-based label TOGA are making their show on Monday 20 September open to the public, while a number of other luxury labels, including Vivienne Westwood, Preen by Thornton Bregazzi and Simone Rocha, are live-streaming their shows for anyone to watch via the official LFW website.
One of the main reasons to rejoice at the return of London Fashion Week is that it marks the long-awaited cultural reopening of the capital, and in honour of that the BFC has relaunched its City-Wide Celebration programme, with a full schedule of events open to the public throughout LFW. Running in collaboration with ‘Limited Edition London’, an initiative that’s part of Sadiq Khan’s ‘Let’s Do London’ campaign, over 100 brands are taking part in a bid to encourage visitors back to central London.
Highlights include fruit carving workshops at Anya Hindmarch’s new ‘village’ on Pont Street, a series of art installations held at Browns by visual artist Babak Ganjei and duo Haroon Mirza & Jack Jelfs, and a pop-up café at Dior’s Bond Street store. Several of the city’s most famous neighbourhoods will also be taking part, including Belgravia and Chelsea, whose shop fronts will be adorned with beautiful floral installations as part of a free flower festival running that week.
“London is recognised globally as a leading fashion capital and the unrivalled creativity and diversity of the sector in our city will be vital in helping to drive our social and economic recovery,” said Mayor of London Sadiq Khan. “Many fashion retailers have had an incredibly difficult 18 months which is why I am thrilled to mark the return of London Fashion Week alongside a new City-Wide Celebration.”
London Fashion Week will run from Friday 17 September to Tuesday 21 September 2021