Today, the British Fashion Council has announced that for the next 12 months, all London Fashion Weeks will merge womenswear and menswear to create one gender neutral platform, which will be hosted digitally. The news comes amidst the cancellation or postponement of the SS21 men’s shows in Paris and Milan, and questions being asked about London Fashion Week Men’s, which was due to take place in June.
The progressive move has been taken in response to the current Covid-19 crisis and, if it proves successful, poses an interesting question to the fashion industry: will this become the fate for all fashion shows in the future? The new digital-only platform will run from 12-14 June 2020, the same time period that London Fashion Week Men’s was due to take place, and will be the first gender neutral showcase of its kind.
“It is essential to look at the future and the opportunity to change, collaborate and innovate,” says the British Fashion Council’s Chief Executive Caroline Rush CBE.
“Many of our businesses have always embraced London Fashion Week as a platform for not just fashion but for its influence on society, identity and culture. The current pandemic is leading us all to reflect more poignantly on the society we live in and how we want to live our lives and build businesses when we get through this. The other side of this crisis, we hope will be about sustainability, creativity and product that you value, respect, cherish.”
The new platform will be designed for both trade and consumer audiences and will put storytelling at its heart, hosting exclusive multimedia content from designers, creatives, artists and brand partners, who will be sharing everything from interviews and podcasts to in-depth webinars, designer diaries and digital showrooms.
To enhance this new digital offering the BFC has drafted help from the some of the world’s biggest tech heavyweights, including Amazon, Facebook, Google and Instagram, who will be joining the project as new brand partners. The BFC will also continue to work with many of their established long-term partners, including Mercedes-Benz and The Mayfair Hotel.
“By creating a cultural fashion week platform, we are adapting digital innovation to best fit our needs today and something to build on as a global showcase for the future,” explains Rush.
“Designers will be able to share their stories, and for those that have them, their collections, with a wider global community; we hope that as well as personal perspectives on this difficult time, there will be inspiration in bucketloads. It is what British fashion is known for.”