Vittoria Zerbini on London Fashion Week

Fashion is one of the biggest and most lucrative industries in the world – and is synonymous with glitz and glamour. But beyond the allure, it is a dynamic industry where creativity, innovation and business savvy intersect. From the catwalks of London to the streets of Copenhagen, fashion has always been a mirror held up to society and politics. And with the rise of social media, its impact on people and economies has intensified, allowing it to rip off the label of ‘superficial’ it has been given by some.

Staggering
In 2023, according to a study by the management consultancy Bain and the Italian luxury association Altagamma, the global luxury market reached a staggering €1.5 trillion. In the same year, the British luxury industry was estimated to have reached £6.0 billion and was projected to achieve an annual growth rate of 4.07 per cent from 2024 to 2028.

Revenue is not the only reason why London is considered one of the four main fashion capitals of the world alongside Paris, Milan and New York. With some of the best fashion universities in world such as Central Saint Martins (CSM), London College of Fashion, and Royal College of Art, it is no surprise that some of the most outrageous shifts in the way we dress, and most brilliant designers found their roots in this city.

Look no further than Mary Quant and her miniskirt which became a symbol for the feminist movement, Alexander McQueen who created pure art thanks to his unmatchable and irreplicable genius, or Dame Vivienne Westwood, who, through her trendy punk clothes, supported grassroot activism and charities.

Catalyst
Backed by a sturdy network of manufacturing facilities, artisans, showrooms, and marketing agencies, London Fashion Week (LFW) emerges as the primary catalyst for elevating our city to fashion capital status. One of the most anticipated events in the fashion calendar, it showcases the works of established and up-and-coming designers, giving them the opportunity to attract the eyes of journalists, buyers, investors and fashion enthusiasts from all over the globe.

Highlights of the latest LFW this February included Simone Rocha’s collection, The Wake, based on a study of Queen Victoria’s mourning dress. Corsetry and boning are the protagonists of these outfits, with every detail carefully curated giving that distinctive Simone Rocha touch. At the other end, there was Paolo Carzana, whose brand was founded only in 2022, but already the recipient of BFC NewGen funding. A CSM alumnus, Carzana colours his clothes with plant dyes and uses fabrics such as rose petal fibre and peace silk. Ethereal, textured and sustainable, his garments were one of the stars of the show.

Evolution
LFW returns in September. In an industry defined by its rapid evolution, the stage is set for a showcase of both established icons and emerging talents, each poised to shape the future of fashion. What innovative designs and fresh perspectives will take centre stage next season?

Vittoria Zerbini is media assistant at LCCI

Images @Vogue Runway