On Thursday evening, Harvey Nichols’ Fifth Floor restaurant heaved as fashion critics, designers (including Richard Nicoll, Michael van der Ham and Fyodor Golan) and media toasted the British fashion industry. Hosted by the Mayor of London and his promotional agency, London & Partners, in association with the British Fashion Council, An Evening of British Fashion celebrated our growing sartorial success.
‘It is internationally recognized that London is the birthplace of creative talent, and that’s a reputation we’re very proud of. But London Fashion Week has always been seen as a poorer cousin to Paris, New York and Milan,’ Munira Mirza, deputy mayor for education and culture, and one of four influential speakers on the night told guests. ‘London Fashion Week is finally being recognized as more polished, more glamorous and an event to be taken seriously. The recognition that the British fashion industry is now receiving proves the volume and success of its growth.’
At LFW AW12 in February, designers generated more than £75m in sales—a figure industry figures expect to see exceeded in September. ‘Fashion today is a huge earner for the UK economy,’ Mirza added. ‘It contributes £21bn and supports over 816,000 jobs.’
As well as new visitors, February’s Fashion Week saw the return of some of Britain’s most celebrated talent, with Stella McCartney’s homecoming and Sarah Burton staging her first ever McQ catwalk show here. Next season, Preen will return to the London schedule along with new additions including Rag & Bone and Tom Ford, who will also show at the second London Collections: Men in January.
The event also highlighted the British fashion industry’s digital innovation. ‘We’ve championed this relationship between fashion and technology,’ BFC CEO Caroline Rush said. ‘London Fashion Week was the first of the global fashion capitals to have a dedicated digital schedule and now live streams over half of its catwalk shows. Last season, 222 countries around the world watched our shows.’
So why is it all about London? ‘Britain is shining with young talent because we’ve all been nurtured by so many support systems,’ explained Fyodor Podgorny of Fyodor Golan. ‘Plus, you’ve got to have fun in fashion and London is definitely the place to do that. The energy is just fantastic here.'