Is This The End Of The FROW

This June, London Fashion Week is going digital and gender neutral for the first time ever, due to lockdown restrictions and general pandemic craziness.

Usually, the British Fashion Council’s quarterly event is divided according to season and gender – ie. Men’s Fashion Week S/S 2020 and LFW A/W 2020 etc.

But in June, when the London Fashion Week Men’s SS21 show is usually held, a digital event will be held instead, hosted on, meaning fashion fans won’t require a ticket or a coveted invite. Plus, it won’t be a “who’s who” of celebs on the front row.

It will be open to a global public and trade audience, and will work as a meet-up point, offering interviews, podcasts, designer diaries, webinars and digital showrooms. It’ll give designers the opportunity to generate sales for both the public (through existing collections) and the retailers, through orders for next season’s products.

London Fashion Week has always been a platform, not just for fashion but for its influence on society, identity and culture. The pandemic is leading us to reflect more on the ‘new’ society we inhabit and how we want to live our lives (plus how to restructure our businesses when we get through this).

As we know, fashion in 2020 craves sustainability and creativity. And now we can add “digital, non-gender defining and equal”.

LFW in September (traditionally for women) – which I always cover – will now also be gender-neutral.

London’s upcoming fashion week will not be the first to be held digitally – Shanghai hosted an online show earlier this month, while Tokyo livestreamed its fashion week shows in March.

However, London will be the first city on a major fashion circuit to adopt an online-only model. The industry has taken a battering as a result of the pandemic, with fashion weeks in Paris and Milan cancelled or postponed in March.

Key events such as the Met Gala, the Council of Fashion Designers of America awards and the LVMH Prize for Young Fashion Designers have also been shelved.

Yesterday it emerged that designer Stella McCartney has furloughed hundreds of her staff and asked those who remain working to take a pay cut during the coronavirus crisis.

Stella will use taxpayers’ money offered as part of the Government’s job retention scheme to pay salaries, similar to Victoria Beckham, who has been slammed for furloughing people despite her £335million fortune, which I discussed on my socials this week.