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Models at the Markus Lupfer AW11 collection presentation at Saunderson Hotel Models at the Markus Lupfer AW11 collection presentation at Saunderson Hotel

News Fashion Weeks

London Fashion Week: facing a turning point

Thursday, Feb 24, 2011, 2:31 PM / London, United Kingdom

London has again secured its place as a showcase for cutting edge talent, avant-garde trends, and up-and-coming names to watch. Starting with the show of rescued Paul Costelloe, who just announced a new backer for his womenswear label – Portugese company Calvelex, – London Fashion Week topped itself this time, offering both the best British and international design talent to an estimated audience of 5,000.

Tom Ford’s presence this season was big news – the American designer and filmmaker showed his second womenswear collection, originally debuting in New York last September, to a handful of selected journalists and buyers. Other high-profile, on-schedule shows included Burberry, which streamed live on a digital screen in central London's Piccadilly Circus, Mulberry, Vivienne Westwood and Matthew Williamson.

Vauxhall Fashion Scout celebrated its tenth anniversary this season. Having launched the careers of NewGen winner Peter Pilotto, and William Tempest (who recently collaborated with supermodels Kate Moss and Erin O’Connor,) ,VFS presented a convenient portfolio for both catwalk and exhibition, including the return of Jacob Kimmie, Eudon Choi , Lako Bukia, Ziad Ghanem , as well as VFS Merit Award winner Georgia Hardinge and the collective Ones to Watch show featuring Tze Goh, Kirsty Ward, Anja Mlakar and Sara Bro-Jorgensen.

Networking agent, curator, brand consultant and TribaSpace ambassador Emma Crosby states “this season has been the most successful, with the phenomenal attendance by both press and the buyers. Not only UK high-profile retailers Browns, Harvey Nichols, Liberty and Selfridges have shown interest, but also international buyers from Japan, Italy, France and Australia have spent their valuable time here at Vauxhall Fashion Scout. We expect many confirms and an increasing number of orders this season.”

Located at its new venue in Mercer Street Studios, On|Off did not disappoint, presenting an impressive line-up with ten catwalk shows, among those Pam Hogg, Louise Gray, Louise Amstrup and Bryce Aime , as well as a selective designer exhibition featuring this season’s Visionary Award winner Charlie Le Mindu.

Amid the contrast London Fashion Week is known for was Designers Remix, an avant-garde collection by Charlotte Eskildsen, a Danish designer known for her seductive, sophisticated high-end creations . This was the second time at London Fashion Week for Charlotte – upon graduating from the Design Management School in Kolding, Denmark the designer was nominated as the “Best Danish Designer” for the Dansk Fashion Award in 2008.

TribaSpace also attended the Markus Lupfer Kaleidoscopic Tea Party at Sanderson Hotel, the packed presentation showcasing his AW2011 collection of signature prints and knitwear pieces. German communications agency Silk Relations and London-based Relative | MO did a solid job of securing strong attendance by press and buyers.

And of course, there is the exhibition at Somerset House, the most important trade show during the London Fashion Week, which this time included an impressive showcase with 170 participating designers and labels arranged over four floors, with new designers including Tracey Neuls, Nancy Van Ostren, Sarah Baadarani, and the duo Teatum Jones.

Other areas included Topshop sponsored Newgen, where 17 British designers, including first-time exhibitors milliner Nasir Mazhar and directional designer Thomas Tait, were showcased in a presentation of exciting new talent.

Estethica, the British Fashion Council’s ethical showcase was located in the embankment galleries at Somerset House. It was also one of the strongest show this season, with 30 designers making it the largest Estethica showcase to date. New designers include Fashion East winner Dr Noki and milliner Jacob James.

One day was also traditionally dedicated to menswear, with Arcadia Group retailer Topman offering use of official venue The Royal Opera House to two additional designers during Menswear Day. E Tautz was honoured with this year´s Menswear Designer of the Year Award at the British Fashion Awards, and Lou Dalton, a NewGen Men award winner for the second consecutive season, showed in addition to the Topman DESIGN and MAN shows at the Royal Opera House on February 23rd.

London Fashion Week has again achieved global success, with the estimated order volume of more than 100 million British pounds. However, the coming months will be a tough measure for the fashion industry as the government plans to implement significant cuts and tougher taxation. "We feel very upbeat and excited about the week ahead," British Fashion Council chairman Harold Tillman said during last Friday’s opening, which was attended by the Prime Minister’ wife Samantha Cameron who is now an ambassador for the council. "But no doubt this year will be difficult as we are all suffering alongside many other organisations from the cuts the government has made."

With credit currently in short supply, young designers across the country face an uphill funding battle that threatens to devastate the next generation of British talent. However, there are several new models of business partnerships that could provide needed support. For instance, upcoming label Jena Theo has formed such a partnership with global delivery company UPS, and the Felder twins have been financially supported by Swiss lingerie maker Triumph trying while to break into a very competitive UK market.

According to Cindy Miller, Managing Director of UPS UK & Ireland, it’s a move to obtain exposure in different markets and to convey to small and medium businesses that UPS is not just a service for big organisations. In the official UPS press release Miller states, “The endeavour is that we want to stay local as well as being global - we want to be as accessible to small companies as we are to big ones.”

If this is a tendency that many global players will pick up upon, the British fashion might just not only do well, but also take a different direction. The September issue of London fashion week would certainly serve as a turning point.

To view our exclusive images from London Fashion Week, take a look at the presentations inside the TribaSpace Showroom.

Natasha Binar | TribaSpace

Product Groups: Production, Buying, Representation, Sales, Ready-to-Wear
Markets: Other, Children's, Women's, Men's

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