The final of the Burberry fashion show in London in February 2020. - Vianney Le Caer / AP / SIPA

A week of virtual fashion! London Fashion Week opens its doors this Friday, but only online, due to the coronavirus pandemic which is leading to a rethinking of this event and more generally pushing the entire fashion industry to reinvent itself.

This fashion week usually devoted to men's collections this time mixes genres. The next weeks of fashion in the British capital will follow the same model, mixing female and male collections.

100% digital format

For the first time, there will be no parades. Instead, some creators like the Jordanluca duo will present their spring-summer 2021 collections or capsule collections on video, while others like Hussein Chalayan will reveal the backstage of their work.

All content posted online, including designer interviews, showroom visits and discussions about the environment and racism, will be available to everyone for free. "In the past few weeks, there has been a lot of discussion around this idea of ​​resetting the counters, not only by slowing down (the pace), but also taking into account its impact on the environment," said Caroline Rush director of the British Fashion council (BFC), an organization which promotes British fashion.

Haute Couture online

In Paris, the Haute Couture and Fashion Federation has also set up a virtual event called Haute Couture online from July 6 to July 8 in place of the usual fashion shows. “This event will be structured around a dedicated platform. The principle of the official calendar is maintained, "said the federation in a statement. The very closed circle of houses which benefit from the “haute couture” appellation is invited to present their work in the form of a “creative and free” film. "The whole will be widely relayed on the main global distribution networks," said the Federation in a press release.

A “more open, more diverse” fashion

In the midst of a wave of international indignation after the death of George Floyd, asphyxiated by a white police officer in the United States, the fashion industry also has an “opportunity to be more open, more diverse, to also make its voice heard. his voice on topics like racism, "she said.

The pandemic is a blow to British fashion. According to the BFC, 73% of fashion companies have already experienced order cancellations. In 2019, the fashion industry, which employs 890,000 people, directly contributed £ 35 billion to UK GDP, an increase of 9.4% from 2018.

Before the onset of Covid-19 disease, professionals were already worried about the possible negative repercussions of Brexit on this very international industry. "The majority of our industry did not want to leave the European Union, (…) we have certainly benefited from membership of the EU, and it is very important that, as far as possible, these links continue", a pleaded Caroline Rush.


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