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Georgie’s Review: London Fashion Week Digital

Fri 3 Jul 12:05 pm

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London Fashion Week this season showed us that designers can, despite the odds, find ways to showcase their passion and personality in an impressive variation of content. Despite the lack of product, each found a way to imbue their talent across the schedule. Menswear succeeded most, with the stand-outs showcasing not just their creativity and prowess, but their identity and brand values too.

Designer Priya Ahluwalia, for example, presented ‘Jalebi’, a photography project by Laurence Ellis that honoured her own Nigerian-Indian heritage. The book – as well as being available for limited edition purchase – was brilliantly presented via a virtual-reality exhibition. Ahluwalia cleverly showed us the breadth of what can be achieved digitally as well as what it means to be a person of mixed heritage in modern Britain.

With similar digital panache, Holland-based designer Xander Zhou showcased a virtual look-book of sorts, with each look (impressively some of which was S/S 21) annotated by a HAL-like voice. Familiar asymmetric jackets and two-tone trousers harked of A/W 20, while perforated shirt and trouser coordinates were new from Zhou. The video format was in keeping with Zhou’s recurring theme of Supernatural Extra-terrestrial & Co but was also a great example of what could potentially be continued alongside post-COVID fashion weeks.

Irish designer Robyn Lynch announced a one-off capsule with the cycling brand Rapha with a homemade film documenting the making-of the collection. The film is an intimate portrayal of how one works in lockdown, with anecdotal moments, references, and behind-the-scenes insights into Lynch’s creative process. An invitingly personal and on-brand presentation from Lynch, which, paired with her accompanying look-book, presented a 360-degree vantage of her work from beginning to end.

Bianca Saunders and Charles Jeffrey are two further highlights from the weekend. Saunders’ ‘We Are One Of The Same’ zine in collaboration with Joshua Woods was a triumph, as were all Saunders’ panel appearances throughout the schedule. Jeffrey’s usual joyous frivolities were instead an uplifting live-streamed charity fundraising event for UK Black Pride, complete with acts, presenters and Jeffrey’s signature styles and illustrations. Both use their platform and voice to enrich and enlighten the community.

This London Fashion Week seemed to hark back to the roots of what makes London design and fashion so great. It was creative, a bit cut-and-paste, honest, and refreshingly unique. With such eclectic ideas, we can and should be looking forward to more than just runway shows in the future.