Being abroad in London this semester meant missing out on New York Fashion Week. But fortunately, in the middle of February, London was the second in line to offer the world its best in fashion.
London Fashion Week put the spotlight on emerging as well as established British designers: Burberry Prorsum, Simone Rocha and Mulberry, to name a few. I got a chance to see two shows on the opening day, KTZ and Felder and Felder.
No, I didn’t magically get tickets, though I did contemplate sneaking in. (Don’t judge me; every fashionista has thought of it at some point!) The London Fashion Week committee gives the public a chance to view the shows live without tickets, via a large screen set up opposite the Somerset House, where a number of shows take place. It’s another way of including fans in a major fashion-world event.
London is regarded as one of the friendlier of the “Big Four” fashion week cities, which also include New York, Milan and Paris. The creator of the Sartorialist fashion blog, Scott Schuman, has remarked about how much energy and how many young people there are at London’s fashion week compared with New York’s. He loved that so many people try to sneak into shows, and that the less daring can take pictures and feel like a part of the action.
It’s true. London is far more inclusive in its fashion scene. This notion goes right down to the streets, where many people dress fashionably with a style completely their own. What many Americans would deem “dressing up” is just another Tuesday outfit for Londoners.
You see it particularly with the young people of London, who don’t let class or social status stop them from participating in what was — and in many ways still is — a highly exclusive industry.
That’s why, armed with nothing but my black suede, gold-plated, Oxford-style heels and a digital camera, I walked into Somerset Courtyard during London Fashion Week with no shame about not having a ticket, which I might have had at Lincoln Center. Because, as it so happened, there were hundreds of young people there like me, simply wanting to soak what is for us the most important week of the year.
Photographs courtesy of Farrukh (Swamibu) on Flickr’s Creative Commons.