London Fashion Week goes online owing to COVID-19 lockdown; Burberry, Molly Goddard to broadcast collections

Agence France-Presse
·2-min read

London Fashion Week begins on Friday in a virtual format due to a coronavirus lockdown with mainstays like Victoria Beckham shunning the event, but others like Burberry embracing the online avatar.

Despite the absence of global celebrities and fashionistas, designers such as Turkey's Bora Aksu, Britain's Molly Goddard and Ireland's Simone Rocha will stream their collections on the London Fashion Week website.

Most of the 94 designers participating in the show, which concludes on Tuesday, will broadcast video highlights of their collections showcasing menswear, womenswear or mixed fashions in an event that is now gender-neutral.

On Monday, the British brand Burberry €" known for its tailored trenchcoats €" will present its menswear Autumn/Winter collection for 2021, designed by Italian creative director Riccardo Tisci.

Impact of Brexit

Former Spice Girl and designer Victoria Beckham will present her creations a few days before London Fashion Week. Her collection, which mixes the seasons, aims to be "optimistic but realistic", she explained.

During the pandemic, the former pop star said "people still want to dress up" but with "a need for comfort". Her designs include military details that evoke a "sense of protection €" a toughness," she added. Her collection also exhibits a lighter, more delicate side with dresses made from Jersey fabric or with prints of flowers and goldfish.

The more joyful designs are in stark contrast to the grim outlook for the fashion industry in Britain, seriously impacted by the pandemic. The UK suffered more than 118,000 COVID-19 deaths and has been under national lockdown measures since January.

The fashion sector, which employs more than 890,000 people and contributed £35 billion ($48 million, 39 billion euros) to UK GDP in 2019, has also been hit by Brexit and the end of free movement between the EU and the island nation.

In early February, hundreds of fashion figures, including top former models like Twiggy and Yasmin Le Bon, signed an open letter, coordinated by the industry forum Fashion Roundtable, warning the sector risked being decimated because of Brexit.

To increase the visibility of young talent in the pandemic, the British Fashion Council, which represents the industry, has partnered with the social media giant TikTok. The umbrella organisation has also joined forces with Clearpay, a group allowing customers to "buy now pay later" to boost sales.

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