London Fashion Week Will Be All-Virtual, With No Live Audiences

Samantha Conti
·3 min read

LONDON — London Fashion Week will go ahead in February, but only on the digital screen, with no live audiences.

The British Fashion Council said Wednesday that, following consultations with the British government, the unisex, seasonless showcase will still run from Feb. 19 to Feb. 23, but all shows and presentations will have to be pre-recorded or livestreamed with no guests present.

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Caroline Rush, chief executive officer of the BFC, said the organization continues to ask government to engage in support of the fashion industry.

One of the main active requests, she said, “is to allow key creative and model talent to travel to and from the U.K., with a phased introduction of quarantine exemptions for the industry in order to carry out essential business, to protect British competitiveness.”

She said the third lockdown is proving “incredibly challenging for businesses, freelancers and individuals. Our industry is one of amazing creativity, and the majority of businesses and individuals we work with are independent businesses and creatives who contribute significantly to the cultural and creative reputation of our country.

“We will continue to push for support and champion our extraordinary businesses to global audiences. Despite all the challenges the last few years have brought, I truly believe that the creativity, agility and business savvy of our sector will prevail, and our British businesses and fashion workforce will see us re-calibrate to not only be strong creatively but strong sustainably, too,” she said.

The BFC confirmed that filming and shoots can, at this stage, continue under COVID-19-relevant secure guidelines, however, all permitted activity that involves “interaction with individuals outside of immediate households is under constant review, and these guidelines should be referred to regularly to ensure alignment with latest lockdown and tier levels.”

As reported, London Fashion Week will take place on the digital site created last year, Londonfashionweek.com. The BFC said all designers showcasing new content and selling new collections will be featured on the digital platform, accessible to everyone throughout the year.

Wednesday’s update regarding the next edition of LFW should not come as a surprise to designers, who were already planning to show their upcoming fall 2021 collections in video, film or look book format.

Designers are essentially being asked to repeat the drill from June and September 2020 when they created collections, unveiled them virtually and sold them via digital showrooms or one-on-one online appointments.

Some designers, like Martine Rose, have even created mid-season events to keep the momentum of their collections alive. Rose made a heartfelt film that aired this week, showing celebrities and friends wearing her spring 2021 collection and going about their daily lives.

Britain has been hit hard by a mutant strain of COVID-19, which has been ramping up infections, hospital admissions and daily death rates, although the country’s vaccination program is on track.

The government said earlier this week that at least 2 million vaccinations per week will be given at 2,700 vaccine sites across the U.K. in the largest program of its kind in British history.

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