London Fashion Week is one of the most significant events in the world’s fashion calendar. This biannual event, held in London, England, is a showcase for renowned designers and an opportunity for emerging talent to display their wares to the world. But what secrets and lesser-known facts does this fashionable week hold? Here, we uncover the top 10 things you didn’t know about London Fashion Week.

1. The Event Wasn’t Always Called ‘London Fashion Week’

Despite its globally recognized name today, London Fashion Week wasn’t always called this. Previously, it was simply known as ‘London Designers Collections’. It wasn’t until the late 1980s that the name was changed to ‘London Fashion Week’ as we know it today. The name change came about to reflect better the global relevance and status of the event.

Interestingly, the first event wasn’t held in the extravagant venues we’re used to. Instead, it took place in a West London car park. Despite this humble beginning, the event quickly escalated and has gained prestige ever since.

2. Many Events Are Open to the Public

In a surprising move away from the tradition of exclusive, invitation-only fashion shows, many London Fashion Week events are open to the public. Historically, the only people who attended Fashion Week shows were buyers, press, and VIPs. However, since 2019, the British Fashion Council (BFC) has opened some shows to the general public.

This move to democratize Fashion Week means that anyone can get a ticket to selected catwalk shows, presentations, and panels. This has made the event more accessible and inclusive, a philosophy that’s becoming increasingly important in the fashion world.

3. The Event Was Canceled Only Once

Despite two annual events since 1984, London Fashion Week has been canceled only once. In 2001, the fall event was canceled due to an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease. There was concern about the event contributing to the spread of the disease across the UK.

This footnote in London Fashion Week history illustrates the event’s massive scale. With models, designers, and industry figures flying in from around the world, this cancellation meant significant financial and reputational damage to the industry.

4. It Generates Significant Revenue

London Fashion Week isn’t just a fashionable spectacle; it’s also a significant economic event. It’s estimated that orders of over £100 million are placed during each LFW, aiding the UK fashion industry’s economic contribution.

Additionally, the event generates considerable tourism revenue. Thousands of people flock to London for this biannual event, with hotel bookings and restaurant reservations skyrocketing during this period.

5. London Fashion Week Has a Royal Patron

The UK fashion industry’s importance notably gained recognition in 2018 when Queen Elizabeth II made a surprise appearance at London Fashion Week. More than that, the Queen also presented the inaugural Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design to Richard Quinn.

Since then, the Duchess of Cornwall, Camilla Parker Bowles, has taken over this role. Her decision underlines the continuing Royal Family’s support for the UK fashion industry and London Fashion Week.

6. London Fashion Week Is More Than Just Clothes

Although it’s undoubtedly a celebration of fashion, London Fashion Week is more than just about clothes. It has progressively transformed into an event that champions diversity, sustainability, and the power of the creative industry.

The BFC always emphasizes the importance of showcasing British creativity. However, in recent years, it has also highlighted the fashion industry’s role in ethical and sustainable production methods. This emphasis encourages designers to produce more responsibly, making fashion less of an environmental burden.

7. It Showcases Over 250 Designers

With an average of over 250 designers participating in each event, London Fashion Week is a hive of creative activity. This figure includes established designers and also offers a platform for upcoming talents to showcase their work and gain exposure.

Names such as Alexander McQueen, Vivienne Westwood, and Burberry have all made their mark here throughout the years. Simultaneously, new stars like Matty Bovan and Richard Quinn have become regular names in recent programs.

8. It’s Not Just for Adult Fashion

London Fashion Week is not limited to adult fashion. In recent years, there has been a growing focus on children’s fashion. This focus recognizes the significant market for stylishly dressed kids and a growing demand for high-quality children’s fashion.

Several designers now specialize in mini-me versions of adult designs, and some shows are dedicated solely to children’s fashion. This shift signifies the evolving focus of London Fashion Week and its ability to adapt to market changes.

9. There’s a Digital London Fashion Week Too

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 London Fashion Week featured a new companion event: Digital London Fashion Week. This was a virtual event that allowed audiences to enjoy the shows from the safety of their homes.

Despite hurdles, the event was seen as a resounding success. This digital adaptation could likely become a permanent and inclusive staple in the fashion calendar, bringing high fashion to wider and diverse audiences.

10. It’s More Than Just a Week

Although it’s called London Fashion Week, the event actually lasts longer than a week. Typically, it runs for about nine days, kicking off with a few days dedicated to men’s fashion before moving on to women’s collections.

Each day generally follows a busy schedule of shows, presentations, and events from morning until late in the evening. All this intense activity in such a short period further illustrates why London Fashion Week is such a crucial event in the fashion industry.

Interested in knowing more about London Fashion Week? Here are some useful links:

London Fashion Week Official Website
British Fashion Council Homepage
London Fashion Week News on Vogue