Noelle Reno shares the truth about London Fashion Week
All myths in fashion boil down to one fact: no one has money. Retailers have money, the media has money. However a majority of designers, models, journalists, presenters, producers, publicists and all in between seem to be meant to survive on hot air and passion.
Everyone wants to live in glossy magazine land. We know that. That’s the dream sewn in every stitch that goes down the runway. It’s no shock each season (fashion week is twice a year in four major cities) young hopefuls fight to be part of this world like prom queens flooding to LA to become actors. Few will last; the pay is awful, the hours are long, and career longevity is uncertain.
I’m sitting front row at the Felder Felder show. An established brand designed by German twins. Like most designers they work extensively each season to find sponsors to fund their LFW show which costs between £20,000 to £40,000 per show. Felder is lucky. They have the arguably the most powerful woman in fashion at their 10am show: Natalie Massennet, British Fashion Council chairwoman, but most importantly, Founder of Net a Porter. Net has the biggest budgets right now. Designers fear no reorder from Net not just for reputation’s stake but because it can devastate their balance sheet.
Of course it’s nice to have It girls, bloggers, TV personalities, notable models at these costly shows (at this show: presenter Zoe Hardman, Amber LeBon, and my humble self) but this does not a business make. We don’t even buy clothes: the designers lend to us.
There are about sixty shows on the official schedule, and a hundred or more unofficial. All these poor brands, (literally) created by hopeful designers and funded by friends and family, will put on shows attended by un-influential bloggers, unknown online magazines, and wanna-be stylists. They will get no orders from a retailer and the only invoice they will see is from the PR they hired. Back to the East End they go to a flat share with four other struggling creatives still holding out hope for the future.
The industry will eat you up and spit you out. The Internet allows more opportunities for new brands to reach consumers but it’s also delivered more “clutter”. The world doesn’t need another brand and there’s no where that’s more obvious than at LFW where we see yet another coat made of carpet go down a off-off schedule runway.
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