Can London Fashion Week Designers Survive Online?

    As fashion weeks try to stay relevant, will London Fashion Week’s new move to an online platform hold up against Shanghai's consumer-facing digital event?
    Chinese designer, Feng Chen Wang (above), has created a series of new pieces reworked from previous collections. Courtesy of Feng Chen Wang
      Published   in Events

    In the aftermath of COVID-19, fashion weeks have found it uniquely challenging to stay relevant. So, yesterday, London Fashion Week announced its first digital online schedule, which will be powered by an interface that’s been built by the tech company Red Apple Digital. The new LFW digital platform has three main streams that will showcase over 100 designers across varying sections, while retailers, media, and brand partners activate additional content on the platform.

    Chinese designer highlights include Feng Chen Wang, who responded to the pandemic by creating new pieces that have been inventively reworked from previous collections, and 8on8’s new sustainable headwear line. Xander Zhou, Pronounce, Ka Wa Key, C2H4, and Xu Zhi will also take part in the online event.

    The Jing Take

    The need for fashion weeks to pivot to online platforms is starting to democratize the traditionally elitist fashion week structure. Shanghai Fashion Week has been accessible to the general public for a number of seasons, and since it was the first major fashion week to digitize during COVID-19, it became a guide for all following events. Caroline Rush, the CEO of BFC, noted, “It was great to see that the public could get involved in Shanghai Fashion Week, and this is something that we have adopted for LFW, as the platform and all the content will be free and accessible to everyone.”

    Moreover, while Shanghai Fashion Week was largely consumer-facing, this season finds LFW introducing more retail partners. Chinese retailers, in particular, are helping to amplify British voices via their local platforms. For instance, Hong Kong’s Joyce e-tailer and both have events scheduled that promote British designers and creatives. Additionally, Chinese KOLs Anny Fan and Fil Xiaobai are being tapped by the international luxury retailer Farfetch to accelerate LFW’s designers. With Chinese retailers doing so much to magnify British designers at home and LFW likely to remain online for at least a year, this could end up being a timely pivot for LFW’s designers.

    The Jing Take reports on a piece of the leading news and presents our editorial team’s analysis of the key implications for the luxury industry. In the recurring column, we analyze everything from product drops and mergers to heated debate sprouting on Chinese social media.

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