Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 9 July 2020

Reinventing the runway: London Fashion Week to merge men's and women's shows

For the next 12 months, the event will adopt a gender-neutral format on a digital platform

Matty Bovan's spring / summer 2020 collection, shown in September 2019, during London Fashion Week. AFP
Matty Bovan's spring / summer 2020 collection, shown in September 2019, during London Fashion Week. AFP

As the fashion industry scrambles to adapt to a new landscape of global store closures, minimised manufacturing capabilities and limited consumer demand, it was inevitable that the traditional Fashion Week format would have to change.

Taking the lead, London Fashion Week announced today that for the next 12 months, it would merge menswear and womenswear into one gender-neutral platform. The new strategy is designed to give designers greater flexibility.

The traditional fashion week format is having to adapt. AFP / DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS
The traditional fashion week format is having to adapt. AFP

As a result, London Fashion Week Men’s, which was due to start on Friday, June 12, will now follow this gender-neutral format, presented on a digital-only platform.

Londonfashionweek.com will relaunch for both trade and consumer audiences, and will become a place where British fashion designers and creatives can show their collections – if they have them – but also, more importantly, share their stories, through exclusive multimedia content.

Caroline Rush, chief executive of the British Fashion Council, organiser of London Fashion Week, stresses that the current environment offers an opportunity “to change, collaborate and innovate”, and hopes that the industry will place a greater focus on creativity and sustainability in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

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. 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,” says Rush.

“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.”

Designers slated to appear in the June fashion week have not yet been confirmed.

Updated: April 21, 2020 11:26 AM

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