London Fashion Week: Between Clothes and Theatrics

Last Updated on September 17, 2012

In the interim after my last update I moved to London and attended London Fashion Week for the first time. Fashion week has been the same as the rest of them, only a tad less frenetic. I'm still settling in, so my participance has not been in line with my usual demeanour, but it was profound enough to discover that any and all fascination with fashion week I used to harbor is gone for good.

This is my fourth fashion week season and my ninth fashion week (résumé: 3x Milan, 3x Paris, 2x New York). If there's a good time to become disillusioned about any part of the fashion industry, it's before you decide to invest time and money into studying a fashion-related discipline – possibly in another country – that might or might not result in getting a Job. Last season in Paris (my most successful fashion week so far), my sixth sense paid me an unexpected visit, whispering I was never again going to be as excited about fashion week as I had been until then. The novelty had worn off – it would have sooner or later – but I loved fashion no less. Two days after I had returned home from Paris, I sent off my application to London College of Fashion.

It's possible that the feeling I had in Paris was a culmination of my previous fashion week experiences. I also see it now as a forecast for London. The reason I can't be enamored with fashion week any more is that in the last couple of days I've been feeling as though because my primary interest is the new collections, I don't belong there. What matters at fashion week right now is the theatrics.

Somerset House is cramped with people who aren't attending shows, they just pose for street style photographers dressed like a lunatic (of course such attention seeking happens at every fashion week, but London has it down to a tee, not in the "true British eccentric" Daphne Guinness way). Then there's the waiting, always the waiting, and the air conditioning in the BFC Tent that gives you crushing headaches, and the 18-hour workdays, and the security guards who refuse to acknowledge anything but hard-copy invitations, and the hierarchical separation of show attendees. I eavesdrop on fashion people's conversations; black-clad attendees observe that people are wearing jackets over the shoulders because they think it makes them look like an editor. They sigh when they remember they have to attend six more events today and they've already ditched the high heels. As a rule, evaluations of collections do not span beyond "Hey, did you like [insert show]?" "Yeah, it was great."

This anecdote summed (London) Fashion Week theatrics up for me: I waited outside of the Tent for the Issa SS13 show on Saturday; a smiling girl was handing beautiful limited edition Meadham Kirchhoff tote bags to everyone in the queue. At the entrance a security guard looked at my invitation, telling me the queue I had been standing in was for guests with seats and I should go to the standing room queue (the previous show I had attended at the Tent had one queue for both seats and standing room). I went to the other side of the Tent and noticed that none of the guests with standing room tickets had been given Meadham Kirchhoff totes.

After three seasons and eight fashion weeks, what's different about my experience now is that in the past, every season I attended (at least) one brilliant show that made it all worth it, overriding the mishaps (truth be told, because of collections and clothes, because of actual Fashion, ultimately I will always choose to overlook the mishaps). This season was the first time I haven't had luck, but considering I've only attended one fashion week as opposed to the usual three, it's not something to get worked up about. I'll be happy to give London Fashion Week a second chance in February. And because it never hurts to be polite, I hope it gives me another chance, too.

6 thoughts on “London Fashion Week: Between Clothes and Theatrics”

  1. That's the downside of doing something you can reach a point where somehow the luster is gone and all that remains is a little dull thing...but step away from it for just a bit and you'll see how absolutely fabulous it is ;)
    Sometimes it's just a matter of hitting CTRL+ALT+DEL and starting over with a fresh new pair of eyes ;)

    • Thanks for the comment! The great thing about fashion is that it's about so much more than just fashion weeks, so even when they get dull, there's still heaps of other aspects of fashion to be excited about. I started uni this week and am thinking about my Masters project, which will most likely be completely different from what I've been doing so far. I still have to figure out my place within fashion, but I'm slowly getting there.

  2. All I can say is welcome to the UK, the land of rigid bureaucracy and overpriced everything. The way you summed it up sounds just right for this mentality. But it has good sides too, like the weather! Haha :)

    • Thank you! Have not had to deal with rigid bureaucracy so far thankfully, but don't get me started on overpriced everything and the sadness I feel for the euro to pound ratio. The weather hasn't been much different from Ljubljana so far though, but it's still early to say.

  3. Ah, but you see, everyone with a list or a notepad, in any kind of official capacity, immediately turns into a power-mad bureaucrat, which is why any sort of a big event or queuing experience quickly becomes quite depressing.
    The money will take a while to get used to. Two years it was for me. The good thing is getting paid in pounds, then when you go back home, you feel like you have loads of money :)


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