The History of London Fashion Week

As a website and blog all about eyewear, we like to keep up-to-date with the latest fashion trends, and that means always thinking ahead to NEXT season’s line up, after all, who would want to be seen wearing last year’s sunglasses?  😉

This week is London Fashion Week, so with the help of our latest guest writer, we thought we’d take a look at the event, it’s brief history and what it has become today.

How London Fashion Week Became the Show it is Today

London is considered one of the “Big Four” fashion week sites, along with Milan, New York and Paris. London Fashion Week celebrates its 26th year in 2011; from its origins in 1984, this show has been a “must do” event for fashionistas and designers from around the world.

Origins:

The first London Fashion Week event was produced in 1984, and featured a diverse group of designers, including David Fielden, Ghost and John Galliano. The week featured catwalk shows and fashion industry booths and events, and was produced by the British Fashion Council.

Early Years:

  • Designer Katherine Hammet becomes the first to receive the newly minted Designer of the Year Award, offered in 1984 by the British Fashion Council.
  • In 1985 the British government agrees to sponsor London Fashion Week and British designers, thanks to prompting by the editor of the UK version of Vogue and a select group of established. designers.
  • In 1989, supermodel Kate Moss heads down the catwalk for the first time at the age of 15; her first appearance is at a Galliano show during London Fashion Week.
  • The Princess of Wales, Diana, attends the British Fashion Awards and shows for the first time in 1990; her attendance brings worldwide attention to the British fashion industry.

1990s:

  • London Fashion Week changes venues several times, ending up in the National History Museum. The show adds more exhibition space and press space during this time as well.
  • In 1993, the British Fashion Council reaches out to educate and give recognition to new and upcoming designers by offering the opportunity to show during Fashion Week. Designer Alexander McQueen is one of the first to participate in the program, which will continue to encourage and include new designers and labels each year.
  • Like many fashion-related businesses and events worldwide, London Fashion Weeks suffers setbacks in the early-1990s, thanks to an overall recession.
  • Many fashion houses and designers are criticized in the mid-1990s for using near-anorexic models to showcase couture. Several initiatives and funds designed to promote healthy body image are founded in response by the late 1990s, including the Model Health Enquiry.
  • Some of Britain’s most fashion forward designers are lured from London Fashion Week to larger shows in Paris, New York and Milan. It will take almost a decade for London Fashion Week to rebound from this defection.

2000-Today:

  • In 2009, the British Fashion Council moves a revitalized London Fashion Week to its current venue in Somerset House.
  • By 2010, London Fashion Week was responsible for almost £ 100 million in orders, including garments, shoes, handbags and accessories like sunglasses and eyeglasses.
  • The current day London Fashion Week has grown exponentially to include 68 “official” catwalk shows and numerous unofficial offsite events as well. London Fashion Week currently draws in excess of 5,000 industry visitors per year, including designers, students, press and buyers.
  • In 2010, London Fashion Week became the first major fashion event to fully embrace the Internet; the entire weeks’ worth of catwalk shows are broadcast to a worldwide audience over the web.

 


Steven Elias is a writer from Dallas, TX and currently runs a site on wedding photographers in Dallas TX.

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