Milan Fashion Week vs. the world

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
international bloggers.

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. 

Reena Rai

Reena Rai is a 30-something London-based fashion, travel and lifestyle blogger. She has been blogging for 10 years (!), previously at before launching her self-titled blog.



  1. yiqin;
    October 13, 2011 / 5:41 pm

    i liked burberry 🙂

  2. Rebecca
    October 13, 2011 / 5:54 pm

    Thanks for the comment on my blog, it's not a real Arty that I have it's just a copy from Ebay :)Great postxx

  3. Anonymous
    October 13, 2011 / 6:22 pm

    WELL SAID both Rosalynn and Reena. I think Milan is very overrated and I agree with the point you make about Milan going for the easy target (Ldn)

  4. Anonymous
    October 13, 2011 / 8:20 pm

    I completely agree with you! It's very arrogant of Milan and they deserve to be boycotted. Why don't they just stick to the agreement they made three years ago?I'm planning on doing a post on this for my blog too. It would probably be good to make a clear overview of this because many people don't really understand this complex situation anymore.x Jonas

  5. Col
    October 14, 2011 / 9:26 am

    I agree with you to a certain extent, but fundamentally the fashion industry isn't about so much about creativity, it's about the bottom line. The problem with London Fashion Week isn't the designers themselves, it's about the guidance they receive and the business knowledge. As someone that has attended uni and attempted to study fashion, the education system pushes you to create clothing rather than a collection and if the designers aren't getting the support from the British Council teaching them that it's all well and good to send a model down the catwalk with a tutu stuck on a models head, who is going to wear this? How are you going to make this in to a collection that is commercially viable? British designers have to learn to find the balance such as McQueen, Galliano, Westwood and all the other British big hitters that there is a balance between creativity and commerciality otherwise designers will end up being a typical london designer which is a one collection wonder.

  6. Awais
    October 14, 2011 / 11:44 am

    Reena and Rosalyn, I couldn't agree more with you both. Although I wish things were different, unfortunately I do think London will end up being on the losing end here. Money talks and the magazines need the revenue from the Milanese designers. It's such a shame though as London has always been the best platform for new talents. Maybe things would be different if some of the British powerhouses that show in other cities return home?

  7. Rosalynn
    October 14, 2011 / 4:45 pm

    Thank you everyone for your comments, I'm glad my thoughts have provoked some really interesting replies.To reply to Col, I totally agree, and in a way, this was my point, and in response to your first paragraph, that's exactly why I think London will lose out – because of the bottom line.

  8. Anonymous
    October 17, 2011 / 1:24 pm

    This is a fabulous post. I agree that London is going to lose out, and yes, because it is not the most commercially driving week. Sadly this means that emerging talent, the best thing about the London shows, may go unrecognised. However I am a little confused, as I understood this clash to only be the case because New York are running their fashion week this season so as not to clash with the holiday weekend? And because Milan did not want to miss out they moved their week. Am I wrong?

  9. Roz
    December 29, 2011 / 7:21 pm

    @styleonthecouch.comBasically, the agreement is that Fashion Week starts on the second Thursday in September.The second Thursday happens to fall late in September 2012, so Milan asked that New York move their start date back to give them more time for production.New York didn't want to change their date because of the agreement, and also because of the Labor Day holiday (3rd September), which would have been too close to NY Fashion Week.Milan move their date back anyway to clash with New York by a day and to totally overlap London.Hope that explains! It's pretty complex, and the plot has thickened since my blog post!

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