In September, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport launched the London Fashion Week 2022 bid. It would, “…bring the capital’s world-class cultural offerings, the creativity, energy, and vibrancy of London and UK design and fashion talent to international audiences, generating economic benefits for the UK, including a rise in overseas visitors and direct spend in the UK.”
The new Mayor, Sadiq Khan, said “Fashion is one of our greatest exports, helping to drive the UK economy forward. It is great to see the bid launch and continue to grow the capital’s reputation as a global hub for the luxury fashion and design industry.”
This week the Council’s lead member for Culture and Creative Industries, Cllr Adele Limon, what she thought of the future of London Fashion Week, given the current state of the London economy.
What is London Fashion Week?
It’s a fantastic event that we are lucky enough to host every two years. We also host London Fashion Week at the Old Royal Naval College every year. It’s a global fashion event, with over 2,000 international visitors and over 1,000 international media and trade partners.
It’s estimated that the event generates an annual economic impact of £6m and supports 100,000 UK jobs, with the sector being responsible for 3% of the total UK economic output and 12% of its exports.
Every year over 7,000 people, including designers, buyers, agents, buyers, and journalists, descend on the capital for this week-long event. It’s a fantastic opportunity for visitors from around the world to come to London and see London as a global hub for luxury fashion and design. It has also led to London becoming a popular location for global events including the Olympics, Eurovision, and film premières.
What do you think about the future of London Fashion Week?
We are excited to be working with our partners at the DCMS to secure London’s bid to host the fashion and design week. London’s fashion and design heritage makes it a natural fit for this event. We have a huge number of local manufacturing businesses, so we can guarantee quality control and authenticity, which are critical to this event.
We want the fashion week to remain free and accessible for all, to encourage more Londoners to consider fashion and design as a career choice. We know London is a unique place with a diverse array of culture, art, and entertainment options, so we want this to be the biggest London event possible. We want the world to come to London and see how fashion and design can transform the lives of everyone that comes here.
How much do you think LFW will change over the next few years?
London has a fantastic reputation as a fashion capital and we think that the fashion week will continue to grow and thrive. We want it to be the world’s most important fashion week and we will make sure it is well resourced and attracts people from around the world.
The new Mayor has said he wants to turn London into a “designer’s city”, what does this mean for London Fashion Week?
For me it’s very important that we do not view London Fashion Week as a competition for London designers to show in. London has so many fantastic boutiques and design firms. We are working to make sure London Fashion Week is sustainable in its own right as well as the other great events in London. We need to make sure that it’s not an event that is dependent on Londoners’ designers.
What are the barriers that you think LFW faces?
We have to get to grips with how to encourage international visitors. We do know we have some challenges with the English language. We can offer training for people coming from outside the EU. We can offer in-depth support for those who are not English speaking, in the right type of venue.
We have to make sure we have a strong fashion week in the city we are bidding for. We need a strong creative hub and a large amount of support from the government in the event we are awarded the bid. London has great links to the world and we need to make sure we have strong links with buyers and distributors in the world.
What support do you think LFW will need from the government?
To be in line with European and European Union law we do need to consider the financial support that comes with the bid, from the European Union. We need to be thinking about how we can continue to help our local design industry to thrive. Our local manufacturers are our most important partners in this and we need to make sure they are supported.
We want to make sure that the support we are providing isn’t tied to the event, so we need to have a long-term plan to support the fashion and design industry. We need to make sure London’s creative industries are thriving. We have great creativity in the capital and we want to continue to nurture and strengthen that.
What is your opinion on the current fashion week?
I think London Fashion Week has a great reputation. The Old Royal Naval College is a great location and we have put so much work into improving the space for the event. London Fashion Week is something the capital has done extremely well. I am looking forward to the next time fashion week comes around.
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