The British Are Coming….Again!!

Written By , on April 2, 2006

“For as long as I have lived, it has been fashionable to knock British fashion designers.”
— Nicholas Coleridge ( chairman of The British Fashion Council)

London’s fashion scene is like that of a tug-of-war between respect and attention. That’s the sob story about how it seems no one is paying attention to the little sister of the fashion capital squad – London. There are 3 reasons why London is coming back into its own in terms of fashion this spring, and everyone should hop on before the train leaves the station.

Reason 1. The past doesn’t lie!!!!

Along with new music that came out of London/Liverpool in the 1960s, the ‘British Invasion’ introduced the world to new hairstyles, fashion, attitudes, and language. London’s Carnaby Street fashions, Mary Quant’s miniskirt, and mod fashions were to the fashion scene then, what Ugg boots, distressed denim, and rocker tees are to fashion at the present time. What happened? Why does it feel like London is the city that fashion forgot?

During the past three decades there has been a diverse range of creativity coming from the city However, admitting that London is “IT!!” when it comes to fashion, is like admitting that you actually own a Britney Spears CD. Admit it already, London is where it is at when it comes to fashion. London is where fashion is created and Paris, Milan, and New York is where it is bought and I have Hardy Amies, Mary Quant, Biba (Barbara Hulanicki), Vivienne Westwood, Roland Mouret, Alexander McQueen, Temperly, John Galliano, Stella McCartney, Phoebe Philo, Matthew Williamson, and a truck load more to prove it. Why do you think the world’s eyes and ears are glued to who and what will come out of the prestigious fashion schools of Central Saint Martins, London College of Fashion, etc.?

Reason 2. Look to Anna [Wintour] and Luella [Bartley]. A comeback from a four-year absence and a US mass- market takeover didn’t happen for nothing.

What the London fashion scene has produced cannot be ignored. Anna Wintour took note of that by appearing at London Fashion Week 2006 after a four-year absence. I’ve found that with Matthew Williamson taking over Italian design house, Emilio Pucci, to Luella Bartley being the new darling of Target, British fashion and British fashion designers are surely taking advantage of the spotlight suddenly shining on them. Wintour was quoted on the Daily Telegraph online ( February 20, 2006) as saying, “People constantly make the mistake of comparing London with New York, Milan and Paris and that’s not what it’s about,” said Wintour. “London has its own fashion identity. You come here to find the next Alexander McQueen or John Galliano.”

Wintour was a huge influence in the move of London Fashion Week (LFW) to its new slot, which was very beneficial to opening that “camera lense” on LFW and attracting the major international buyers and media.

Although the past London Fashion Week was still small in size and media attention compared to its NY, Milan, and Paris counterparts, what can be truthfully said is that British fashion designers, no matter where they show are never dull and always surprise the senses. The March 2006 issue of JC Report, noted that — “There’s an undeniable energy to London’s Fashion Week. Though still in the shadows of the other three cities, the PR companies in London guard their territories like fortresses, deeming entry to every show a privilege. The heavy-handedness doesn’t always live up to the hype, but with the plethora of styles seen on the runways, the eclecticism itself is what we’ve come to expect and appreciate about London.” This confirms not only the blind eye giving to London not being considered a competitive force amongst its three other fashion sister cities, but while being hidden in the shadows, London does not lose it’s eclectic style within the collections, which can only help the gradual resurgence of London’s fashion scene.

Reason 3. London is calling.

With design houses, such as Giles, Aquascutum, Antoni & Alison, Boyd, Amanda Wakely, Tata Naka, Ashely Isham, etc. representing London Fashion Week; Vivienne Westwood, Alexander McQueen, John Galliano for Dior representing for Paris Fashion Week; Matthew Williamson for Emilio Pucci, Jenny Packham, Burberry Prorsum representing for Milano Fashion Week; and Luella Bartley, Boudicca, Matthew Williamson, Temperley for New York Fashion Week; the British scene will always be in constant view of the fashion world.

The praises of London’s fashion scene and talent could be talked about for hours and hours, but why spoon feed a audience that should be creative, inquisitive, and open-minded enough to research this information, this knowledge, this need-to-know for themselves? This is fashion medicine for the sick, those that have already had their doses, will only get higher! Think about it.