We’re almost at that magical time of the year, London Fashion Week, but will this season be pared back?
Anyone who follows fashion will have seen the news of the downturn in sales of high end fashion, people are stepping back from buying couture globally and that appears to have produced a ripple. The BFC show spaces will of course be full and of course you could name half the designers before the schedule came out. We all know that the BFC has a stable that it brings on to the runway every six months and will fill the other slots with the attraction of having so many press and buyers attending but what about the non-BFC outlook.
Well as you all know I talk to a lot of designers and retailers that are off-High Street labels and they are frequently telling me a different tale. Those that show every season are in the main committing to shows and presentations but many with reluctance or with a reduced budget and presence, they feel that February will be the time to kick on again when they perceive the market will have bounced back.
Many others that only do one LFW event a year are telling me they won’t be showing, they have decided to focus on marketing their labels in other ways that offer more bang for their buck, social media, press features and focus, or events outside of this most hallowed of weeks when they won’t have to battle hundreds of other events for a bit of attention. Given the pullin back of big spending buyers they don’t feel that a focus and effort into a depressed market will offer them much. We all know that for smaller labels budgets must be tightly watched and well used.
I’m also hearing from a section of my contact book that they will look at other fashion weeks, Paris being very popular as it offers a more trade based focus and there are always a lot of big retail buyers there. Buyers are always the key, if you can’t find an outlet for products they are dead money on a warehouse shelf for extended periods of time. Paris also has the lure of being close and drawing a good section of the British press.
Lets not forget the press, there are a lot of murmurs going on that people will look to slim down their agendas, focus on a few shows and fire up the jets again at AW17. The fashion press isn’t immune to global pressures and the media budgets across all forms are under pressure and facing cost cut backs.
However this doesn’t mean doom and gloom, it does offer good spaces and extra focus to some of the newest and brightest labels to step forward and to get exposure, to get the attention they richly deserve and of course I’ll be smiling ear to ear at that having devoted my site and my written work to the independent labels. For them this could become a huge step forward and to level the playing field and help create an even more diverse and wonderful plateau of designers. How can that be a bad thing.
Only time will tell if these rumblings and thoughts turn out to be true, but in less than a month we’ll know for sure.