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London Fashion Week AW21: what to expect from the digital showcase

By Danielle Wightman-Stone

Feb 18, 2021

Pre-2020, the day before London Fashion Week would see buyers, press and influencers organising their tickets and schedule for the week ahead, however, the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic means that this season’s autumn/winter 2021 collections will be showcase entirely digitally. 

In September, a handful of designers staged socially distanced catwalks and presentations, including Bora Aksu, Mark Fast and Eudon Choi, however, due to the current coronavirus measures in place in the UK, this London Fashion Week will go ahead with no live audiences. 

Taking place from February 19 to 23, the British Fashion Council will host more than 90 designers across menswear and womenswear, who will showcase their collections either via the catwalk, a film, a presentation, a lookbook shoot or installation via the LondonFashionWeek.co.uk digital hub. 

Under Covid secure guidelines, London Fashion Week designers will still be able to film and photograph their collections, however, the British Fashion Council added that this will all now take place without an invited audience. With London Fashion Week organisers stating that they are working closely with Westminster Council to secure free Covid-19 tests for models and production crews.

London Fashion Week autumn/winter 2021 opens February 19

While there might not be the buzz of a traditional fashion week, LFW still has a packed schedule with designers including Molly Goddard, Roksanda, Simone Rocha, Temperley London, Richard Quinn, Erdem, Osman, Emilia Wickstead, Edward Crutchley, Preen by Thornton Bregazzi, Edeline Lee and Daniel w. Fletcher.

Highlights include Bora Aksu showcasing his collection with a catwalk show film at the Tate Britain, while Rixo will debut its bridal collection, Paul Costelloe will celebrate 35 years at London Fashion Week with a live catwalk show, and on February 23, another designer will be announced as the winner of the Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design, previous winners have included jewellery designer Rosh Mahtani, Richard Quinn and Bethany Williams.

This season will also bring together menswear and womenswear designers into one showcase, with Burberry deciding to just present its menswear autumn/winter 2021 collection, alongside other menswear talents Ahluwalia, Bethany Williams, Bianca Saunders, Dunhill, Tokyo James, Saul Nash, and Nicholas Daley.

As well as accessories from Church’s, Roker, Hill and Friends, Stephen Jones Millinery, Hillier Bartley, Misa Harada, and Isosceles.

There are also a host of newcomers this season including jewellery brand Completedworks and Lagos-born, Glasgow-raised Olubiyi Thomas, both shortlisted for the BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund 2021. Alongside Av Vattev, Bmuet(te), Eirinn Hayhow, Geo, IA London, Jenn Lee, Kaushik Velendra, Labrum London, Maxxij, Mithridate, Published by, Ray Chu, Tokyo James and Yuhan Wang.

Burberry to showcase just menswear this season at London Fashion Week AW21

For the first time, DiscoveryLab is going digital, to support “very emerging designers” who do not yet meet the main schedule criteria, explained the British Fashion Council. This experimental space will run over the duration of London Fashion Week with 2/3 daily 10-minute digital sessions, with activations from Carlota Barrera, Daniel Crabtree, Ingrid Kraftchenko, Linus Leonardsson, Lueder, Masha Popova, Miles George Daniel Studio N Palmer, Parnell Mooney, Sabirah by Deborah Latouche, The Backward Vendor and Tolu Coker. 

Fashion East incubator programme will also be supporting and showcasing five designers this autumn/winter 2021 season with designers Nensi Dojaka, Goom and Maximilian Davis joined by newcomers menswear designer Jawara Alleyne, and London-based accessories label HRH. The five-designer line-up will premiere their collections via still and moving images on February 23 at 5:45pm.

Commenting on the Fashion East line-up, founder Lulu Kennedy said in a statement: “I’m excited by this group: the talent is so diverse. I’m in awe of the energy and optimism they bring to this year’s line-up. I’m seeing some of my favourite ideas and clothes coming through within their collections. I want everyone to know them like I do.”

The British Fashion Council has also expanded the ‘Explore’ section of the LFW digital platform to “tells the stories of London’s individuals and businesses, rich in creative freedom and culture” and this will include the third series of its LFW Designer Diaries, this season featuring E. Tautz, Spencer Badu, Edward Crutchley, Yuhan Wang, Palmer//Harding, Kaushik Velendra, Patrick McDowell, Danshan and SweetLimeJuice.

There will also be a second series of the BFC Fashion Forum Podcast discussing areas in fashion such as positive change, diversity, sustainability, education, culture and technology. Expect conversations from guests including Hoor Al-Qasimi, Supriya Lele, Rosh Mahtani, Richard Malone and Stella McCartney.

In addition, there is also an LFW playlist, and a circular fashion ecosystem panel talk on February 23 with the BFC’s Institute of Positive Fashion partner Vanish. Following the panel, Vanish will take viewers behind the scenes of the creation of The Rewear Runway, a film that looks at the true impact of clothing waste and our throwaway behaviour.  

London Fashion Week takes place from February 19 to 23.

Images: courtesy of London Fashion Week