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The Insider’s Guide to LFW


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By Priya Raj on 1st March 2023

Fashion contributor Priya Raj takes The Sybarite readers behind the scenes at fashion's biggest event.

For fashion enthusiasts who love to dress and fawn over the latest designer fashions, the question remains; what actually happens at fashion week? Think of me as your fairy god sister, giving you the low-down on what goes on at London fashion week and how to get involved.

Fashion Month is a bit of an ‘if you know, you know’ event. Outside of the fashion and arts industry, there isn’t much information publicly available, and it’s not until you’re inside that you really understand what goes on. Fashion Week’s purpose [though now changing] was for the people who would promote these new collections to get the inside scoop; editors, writers, stylists, publicists and celebrities - and now, most importantly, influencers.

The main collections show twice a year, in February, it’s the Autumn & Winter collections of the same year, and in September, the Spring & Summer collections of the following year. These take place in New York, London, Milan and Paris, each lasting for roughly one week; hence the term ‘fashion month’. Each city displays brands born from that place, hence Michael Kors in New York, Burberry in London, Georgio Armani in Milan and Schiaparelli in Paris. The point is to show the fashion world what the city can produce.

There are also Menswear Fashion Weeks in January and June, and the super exclusive world of Haute Couture and Haute Joaillerie [high jewellery] in January and July. Other fashion weeks exist throughout the world, though not as widely known due to their geographic location, from Taipei Fashion Week in Taiwan to Lakme Fashion Week in India. The most popular international fashion week other than the main four is Copenhagen fashion week, displaying the best of the best Scandinavian designers.

Influencers often previously agree with photographers to take their pictures in return for being tagged - a running theme at Fashion Week is that it’s really just a big self-promo event with free drinks thrown in. I’ve also managed to get in some “Getty” branded images of my own, but those working in the industry tend to dress like they are going to work, as opposed to donning their glad rags. Unless you’re one of the lucky few being ferried from show to show in a London Fashion Week branded Mercedes Benz [again, another one for the VIPs], Fashion Week involves a lot of walking and not much sitting.

The shows aren’t the only thing going on during Fashion Week. There are what is known as ‘on schedule' and ‘off schedule’ events. On-schedule events are part of the official schedule, meaning they are associated with the British Fashion Council [the organisation responsible for putting Fashion Week on]. On-schedule events are usually the more established brands or brands that have been connected with the British Fashion Council through funding or steering groups. Presentations are like a stationary catwalk show - a fashion show lasts for around 10 minutes, and presentations are around two hours long, allowing more people to see the collection. 

The rest of the fashion world takes advantage of the fashion crowd being in one place at one time. There will be various new collection viewings [also known as ‘appointments’], store openings and other parties for no apparent reason other than to have the movers and shakers of the fashion world being photographed having a great time in nice clothes; see the self-promo creeping in again?

Attending as a writer, I had no idea what to expect. All I’d seen was my favourite influencers like Tamara Kalinic and Caroline Daur getting glam with hair and makeup and going for fittings to be dressed for the shows - unfortunately, the reality for the majority of the industry is quite different, but a girl can still dream. These VIPs [minus editors] are usually ‘dressed’ for the show, meaning they will wear the garments from that designer to be photographed outside and inside the show.

It’s no revelation to say that every fashion aficionado’s dream is to sit frow [the front row] at fashion week; however, this is usually reserved for one of four people; the VIPs [clients, press, celebrities or influencers].

The Sybarite members can get in on the action by securing front row seats for the upcoming Fashion Weeks. Get in touch here for an inside look at fashion’s biggest event.

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