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Is London Fashion Week diminishing?

Words: Emma van Braningen

October 10, 2011

When Cape Town Fashion Week took place, my good friend came down from her modeling time in Germany to walk the catwalks. Since we were practically living together I was herded along to her fittings, which made me realize that modeling is really not as fun as it looks. Her hours were long, she was often starving and treated like an object (when they weren’t kissing ass and showing their pretty side of face that is). The fittings often ran over-time and the whole extravaganza was disorganized, masked under a false impression of how-it’s-done-in-Europe. It drew my sympathy to her when she stumbled home, feet red and hair partially torn out, and makes the London Fashion Week’s models cases seem even more exasperating. 

 

These models get off a plane from a week or more in New York, are faced with jet-lag, up to 11 shows a day, and plenty more fittings. As london is very spread out and allegedly unorganized it results in disaster. ‘It’s a logistical nightmare and extremely unprofessional,’ says Carol White, a famed model manager. In fact many models skip London altogether during fashion month, preferring to go from New York to Milan to avoid over-exhaustion. 

 

Due to the miserable economic climate, people (especially top US buyers) stayed away from Great Britannia in general because of the astronomical exchange rate. Here again, models found another reason to skip out on London in order to save money. 

 

London Fashion Week (LFW) faced disaster this year when Marc Jacobs show was delayed on Thursday in New York, and when Italy’s Gucci ordered a dozen models to Milan for fittings. Modeling for such a high-profile designer can make a career, and thereby other shows were cancelled on for a better opportunity.

 

Although London is known for its experimental fashion and is considered the fashion capital, it cannot compete financially with the luxury Italian and French brands, or New York with the likes of Marc Jacobs. This further drives traffic away. 

 

So does this mean that  LFW faces extinction? I doubt it. It still has a lot of celebrities and top models which are plenty enough attraction to make for a pretty good fashion week. But if they don’t get their act together, more and more may start following the trend to skip London Town altogether. 

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