In last week’s Friday Fashion
Fix post, I touched upon the fashion week clash between London, New York and
Milan. Milan have decided to shift dates and in doing so, overlap with New York
and totally eclipse London. There was little in the way of discussion on
Twitter, aside from a brief discussion with my good friend and fellow fashion
follower Rosalynn. We are both very strong supporters of London Fashion Week
and I invited her to share her thoughts on the Spring/Summer 2013 season.
You may or may not be aware of
a situation that will likely affect the Spring/Summer collections next year. In
a nutshell, Milan Fashion Week will overlap the end of New York
Fashion Week, and will clash with the entirety of London Fashion Week.
This is due to a disagreement over a long-standing agreement over when
fashion weeks should start and the order they’re scheduled. It has come to
a head largely because of the way Thursdays fall in September 2012.
A couple of days ago, Milan
confirmed their intention to forge on their plans, much to the
protestations of London, New York and many fashion industry leaders.
Rather arrogantly, Camera
Nazionale della Moda (CNDM), the organising committee of Milan Fashion
Week, proclaimed ‘let the best win’, while London rather limply replied by
saying it was ‘disappointed’.
One thing that has amazed me is
the deafly silence from bloggers, particularly British bloggers, on this
issue. This is why I’m so thankful to Reena for passing me her soapbox
from which to shout from.
This is a massive story and
threatens to unbalance the entire fashion industry. As things stand,
buyers, editors, bloggers and models will have to choose whether they’re
Team Milan or Team London (Team New York is less affected as it’s only two
days that overlap).
London stands to be the biggest
Conde Nast, owners of Vogue
Magazine (among others) have reacted with outrage, and claim they will be
boycotting Milan. It remains to be seen whether this happens though –
their cries of foul play were before Milan confirmed the move, so it’s
likely Conde Nast were posturing in the (vein) hope CNDM would reconsider.
It’s also worth noting that
Italy is a huge source of revenue for Vogue, and to exclude Milan will
likely jeopardise their relationship with Italian advertisers. The idea
that Vogue Italia will side with London Fashion Week to me seems
far-fetched at best.
London is my favourite after
Paris because it is the least commercial. Ironically this is why it stands
to lose the most – money talks.
London is exciting,
unpredictable and is a great stage for emerging talent. It is, though, the
shortest of the big-four fashion weeks, often editors and buyers will miss
the first day (making a short week shorter) and it is normally the first to
lose out against the more commercial fashion weeks.
With regards to the models,
we’ve already seen this year how much clout Milan has when Gucci
shortchanged several London shows by recalling their models to Milan
meaning shows like Todd Lynn lost over half of their cast to Milan. Milan
carries with it a lot of prestige; models will trip over themselves
to appear for big-hitters such as Versace, Gucci and Dolce & Gabanna.
Buyers will have to consider
whether to split their teams or send to one fashion week over another.
Once again, if the trend is towards Milan, London becomes yet weaker
So, London stands to lose a
lot. International bloggers will have to make a decision too. If
everything else goes against London, so too will the
British bloggers are great
spokespeople for the British fashion industry, and their coverage during
London Fashion Week is among the best in the world, but I hope they
realise just what an ominous situation London Fashion Week is facing.
On a personal note, I think
Milan Fashion Week is tacky, bloated and overrated. I also think the fact
they have pitched themselves against London, not New York, shows that,
despite their cocksure rhetoric, they’re obviously not that confident in
their ability to win hence they’re taking on the weakest fashion week commercially-speaking.
I find Milan’s attitude
arrogant, obstructive and totally against the spirit of fashion month. If
I have to make the choice, London Fashion Week will always win against
Milan. I don’t have any commercial interest in fashion week, though,
and the editors, buyers, models and international bloggers most certainly
do, and this is why I feel that London Fashion Week has become the whipping boy
in an argument that unfortunately everyone stands to lose from.
I echo Rosalynn’s thoughts regarding London Fashion Week, it
is one of the most exciting weeks but it is also one of the least commercial.
But it is the place where you will discover the big-name designers of tomorrow,
the Lee McQueens and Sarah Burtons, the Gareth Pughs and Stella McCartneys. For
the last few seasons, Burberry has been one of the shining beacons of LFW with
editors, buyers and international bloggers making the bi-annual visit to their
show. This past season, Tom Ford added some addition star power to the roster
and the stunning Abbey Lee Kershaw was seen strutting down several catwalks for
our London designers. It’s such a shame that Milan has thrown London such a
huge curve ball as it was coming into its own.
I think above all, this is an issue of creativity vs. commerciality, London’s
creativity pitted against Milan’s commerciality. Realistically if Milan sticks
to its guns then London will lose. Money talks. But ultimately fashion cannot
be fashion without creativity. I would absolutely love to know your thoughts on the impending schedule clash.