A Brief History of London Fashion Week

There are many amazing and spectacular fashion events that take place across the globe. One of the most important in the fashion industry’s events calendar is London Fashion Week. Both models and designers alike consider it a privilege to be involved in this prestigious event and, along with New York, Milan, and Paris, it is included in the ‘Big Four’. London Fashion Week has an interesting history.

The origins of the event lie in a rather unusual setting as the first ever event took place in a parking lot in West London in October 1983. Even in the beginning, the strong focus on the fashion industry and vibrant shows were central to this event. This debut event was organized by the British Fashion Council on behalf of the London Development Agency. They were also given help from the Department for Business, Innovation, and Skills.

The early days of the London Fashion Week saw many of the best and most iconic designers of the 1980s and 1990s make their debut. These included John Galliano, Ghost, David Fielden, and Betty Jackson. The late 1980s were a prosperous phase for this fashion event until the recession led to the show being minimized. In 1992, only a few designers were selected to show off their collections at hired rooms at The Ritz.

The following year, the event was back on track and even hit the headlines when Naomi Campbell walked topless down the catwalk while modeling Philip Treacy’s new collection. Also during the 1990s, some new designers made their debut and became an instant success in the fashion industry. One such example is Stella McCartney who launched her first collection at the Spring/ Summer show of 1995. Following the show, her entire collection was sold out.

During the late 1990s, London Fashion Week was criticized for promoting anorexia by having severely underweight models in their shows. However, a further controversy was sparked when size 14 Sophie Dahl strutted her stuff down the catwalk. It was much later before the issue of exhibiting clothes for regular women was addressed as Mark Jacobs was the first designer to launch a plus size range at the show. Also in 2010, designers were offered to show their collections live on the Internet and it was the first of the ‘Big Four’ to do so.

London Fashion Week is now a biannual event. While one event shows Spring / Summer collections, the other shows the Autumn/ Winter collection from some of the top designers from across the globe. It is held at 180 The Strand in London and attracts approximately 5,000 press and buyers to each event. The catwalk shows take place at Somerset House. Some other events and exhibitions take place in various external location around Central London.

Immediately following London Fashion Week is the London Fashion Week Festival. This four-day event is a consumer-based experience that is open to the public. Like the majority of London Fashion Week, this festival is held at The Store Studios, 180 The Strand in London. Visitors have the chance to buy designer clothes that are hot off the catwalk.

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