BFC Merges Men’s, Women’s Showcases
Backstage at Richard Quinn RTW Fall 2020
LONDON, UK — Last Month, March 2020, DM Fashion Book reported that “With no clear end in sight to the quarantine measures now in place around the globe in response to the worldwide spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), the British Fashion Council said the men’s shows in London scheduled for June will not happen, and that the organisation ‘is looking at new ways to digitalise their fashion showcase platforms‘” (see it here).
Following the cancellation of London Fashion Week Men’s in June, the British Fashion Council has been working to reimagine its seasonal showcases.
On Tuesday (April 21), it announced its plans to merge its women’s and men’s wear showcases into one “gender-neutral platform.” London Fashion Week: Men’s is no more and all designers will be showcasing their collections and brand stories under the London Fashion Week umbrella, starting with a three-day digital showcase on June 12, the time when the men’s wear shows were set to take place.
The BFC will introduce a new digital platform in time for the June online showcase that will be open to both trade and consumer audiences. The designers participating are yet to be confirmed, but the BFC is expecting a bigger mix than the usual June lineup, with men’s and women’s talent involved.
The aim of the format is to give designers bigger flexibility as to the audience they can reach, as well as the format and content of their presentations that can vary from product to cultural commentary.
“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. 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. 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,” said the BFC’s chief executive officer Caroline Rush, pointing to the opportunity as an indication that the industry has to make necessary changes during this time.
“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 online platform will feature “multimedia content from designers, creatives, artists and brand partners” in the form of interviews, podcasts, designer diaries and digital showrooms, with members of the public being able to place orders on current-season stock and buyers ordering next-season product.
The aim is to continue having four events a year in January, February, June and September. It’s yet to be confirmed whether the September event will also have a physical iteration and will depend on the social distancing norms and overall situation in the U.K. at the time. With London being the first city in the June fashion week calendar, the announcement could set a precedent for Milan, Paris and New York to follow.
Photos Credit: Kuba Dabrowski for WWD