New York Fashion Week is always a blur. So. Many. Shows. Showing at NYFW is like a rite of passage, but some designers don’t get that it is pertinent to wait for the right time. I’m also not a huge believer in the need to show every season. In my opinion, with the access and timeliness, (and no shortage of new platforms), staging a digital presentation à la Misha Nonoo, is an innovative and cost effective idea. And some designers really need to throw show funds into greater fabric qualities. With that being said, London Fashion Week is a breath of fresh air. In five days, compared to NYFW’s eight, designers present collections that seem less beholden to the confines of the what-will-sell mindset, and allow themselves room to be more creative. And because of this, many have developed strong brand identities in a shorter amount of time than expected – which is very appealing to editors and buyers. I fully understand why so many New York designers are contemporary-minded; in many ways we demand wearability, but then moan and groan about the lack of new ideas. It’s confusing to say the least.
London has this dilemma figured out: Mary Katrantzou, J.W. Anderson, Simone Rocha, Christopher Kane, GILES, Barbara Casasola, Ashley Williams, Molly Goddard, Anya Hindmarch, (shall I go on?) are leading the London creative class with their bold directions and fresh takes on modern dressing and accessorizing. These younger brands have stronger roots than many of the constantly-evolving creative directors of larger brands and the consumer has taken notice. The aforementioned brands have consistently presented noteworthy, daring, fashion-forward collections aimed at challenging the consumer out of their comfort zone. And for the first time in a long time, it seems the designers are influencing the consumers as opposed to the other way around. This is refreshing and forces us to have conversations with depth about real fashion.
Is minimalist or reductionist dressing going anywhere? No, and for that I am grateful. I can assure you as I sit here and write this, I am not wearing a Simone Rocha ruffled confection, and am very cozy in my Lauren Manoogian knit onesie, but more than ever I appreciate the democratization of fashion and an industry that accommodates the fantastical and the less so, to exist.
Left to right: Erdem, Simone Rocha, Mary Katrantzou
– Ashley Wu