Oscar Wilde once called fashion “a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months,” and not much seems to change from season to season. The whole of the fashion community—including those who aspire to be included in its exclusive clique—descend on what is to be a circus of frocks and fuckery. Everyone dresses to express their uniqueness, but it’s rather comical how that individuality often results in relative homogeneity.
Fashion week is an opportunity to dress up, to live your best life, or at least to look like you’re doing so. Even those who wear the most boring clothes all year dig to the back of their wardrobe, or beg, borrow and steal looks to be flexing at fashion week. Here’s what to expect from London Fashion Week AW20.
On the first day of fashion week, all the fashionistas are on their A-game. They have been preparing for this for months, and you know that their look will be on point for all the street style photographers. Being in the unforgiving month of February, London will be competing with the Arctic for wind temperatures; a saving grace that the puffer is still an acceptable on-trend option to be featured in the online slideshows fashionistas will eagerly be waiting for while pretending to appreciate the shows all day. Thrown over a barely-there dress and cinched with a corny belt, they’re still freezing, but at least they won’t experience hypothermia. It’s all worth it to rank at the top of #streetwear on Instagram.
The photographers themselves are even quite stylish at fashion week; well, some of them are at least. With all their lenses, SD cards, batteries and tangled mess of cables, many of them are appreciating the benefit of the recent techwear wave. Having a million pockets, straps, magnets and zips is actually practical as well as being the flavour of this season’s zeitgeist.
Since these guys are out in the cold and rain all day, waiting for the next Z list influencer to perform a ‘candid’ walk by, the layers of gore-tex shells and ultra-light down jackets are essential to keeping them not miserable. Of course, the validation of wearing Acronym and Arc’teryx doesn’t only come from the added insulation, it’s the ability to participate in the ego massaging circle jerk of discussing which pieces you have and the pissing contest of who has the most knowledge on the technology behind the clothes.
It should be said that not everyone is at 180 The Strand to be seen. Fashion week should be all about the clothes on the catwalk, or at least that’s the mantra we repeat to ourselves when we don’t have the energy, time or money to pull off a look worthy of Vogue.
If in doubt, wear something black, another one of the fashion industry’s moto since black never goes out of fashion. Somehow black’s magical properties replace insecurity with aloofness, making the wearer look down on everyone else more so than a pair of platform boots. The displeasure on fashion enthusiasts’ face as they see someone wearing ‘streetwear’ is as if they had seen someone adorned in faeces, although on the right model that would probably be something they would consider high art.
For them, the best thing about wearing black at fashion week is that it makes it easier to hide. In the darkened audience of a show, they can disappear to hide from that person they don’t want to be seen with at fashion week, but also so that nobody spots them standing and not in the front row where they think they deserve to be.
Some of you might be wondering, what about the guys at the entrance of the fashion show? What are they wearing? Well, all the headlines say that with the death of streetwear (thanks Virgil for confirming), suiting and tailored garments are in, a relief for the PR representatives that can now be considered chic wearing the same suit they’ve been power dressing in every season since they transitioned from intern to door bitch. Their structured, professional (but comfortable) attire plays a big part in asserting their authority and dominance when they need it the most turning away wannabes from the show entrance. You can determine their rank by the length of their coat, the top dogs in black floor-length cloaks, akin to fashion dementors, sucking the life out of bottom tier editors who want to upgrade their status to seated.
Fashion week would be so much more boring without the peacocks that turn up, not for the Instagram shots, but to be seen (though they will probably find a photo some photographer posted that night and share it on their feed). Unlike their animal namesake, all genders partake in the showy activity.
Although they seem to be in their own world, in this world they always go a step too far on trends that have already died or a schtick that we’re bored of (but probably still make numbers on social media). You can find brightly coloured twin looks, double hats, gender play and everything and the kitchen sink looks; but most of all the fashion cowboys come out to play. Of course, the cowboy trend happened with Calvin Klein under Raf Simons and Old Town Road swept the globe in 2019, but after so many fashion weeks where these peacocks put on western cosplay, it’s stale.
And by now, you must be wondering what I will be doing at London Fashion Week. It’s simple, my goal is to show how amazing it is to the world, all its idiosyncrasies included. Through the platform I work on with a whole team of fashion obsessives, High Fashion Talk, we communicate what goes on at fashion week; all the shows, the attendants, events, activations, designers and creatives that come together. Fashion week isn’t just about influencers and the big brands that pay them to be there, and we want to make sure that the full story is communicated while supporting everyone who works hard in the fashion industry.
Meet Iolo Edwards, our new fashion columnist! Edwards is a photographer, videographer and the founder of the Facebook group High Fashion Talk, a platform for fashion enthusiasts to share pictures, opinions, and discuss every little thing that happens in the fashion industry. With more than 30,000 members, HFT has established itself as a trusted source of information for fashion breaking news and a safe space for open conversations. Feel like you have some serious fashion knowledge to share? Join the community!
In 2015, designer and creative director Matthew Williams decided to channel his vision towards the creation of his own fashion brand 1017 Alyx 9SM. Following an already praised career during which he worked as a creative director with celebrities like Kanye West and other top fashion designers, since the founding of Alyx, Williams has added outstanding collaborations with brands like Moncler, Nike, and Dior Men to his impressive catalogue. Constantly pushing the boundaries of design, technology, and sustainability, Williams announced recently that Alyx was going to be the first brand to introduce blockchain technology to unveil the garment production in a way that is 100 percent accurate.
Sustainability has been part of the brand’s agenda from its start. Alyx uses recycled materials, as well as a leather dyeing process that consumes CO2, and has always been transparent about who—and under what working conditions—the collections have been produced by. Working closely with the worldwide leader in adhesive technologies Avery Dennison and the Internet of Things (IoT) software company Evrythng, Alyx has now implemented supply chain transparency into the brand by launching a blockchain-powered pilot programme on nine of its garments. Taking the brand’s history into consideration, it feels like a natural yet visionary step forward to add blockchain ledgers to its supply chain, making it visible and understandable to clients.
The nine products’ tags now feature a scannable QR code that reveals the entire supply chain history of the garment. According to Vogue Business, the data—which can be accessed by phone—include information about where the materials were sourced, where the product was manufactured, and its shipping movements. With 80 percent of its garments produced in Italy, the process of uploading and tracking the data of the garments is easily doable for Williams. In this transparency procedure, each supplier is in charge of entering the data into the chain.
Not only is this change innovative, but it could also prove the implementation of this feature to be a crucial addition to the brand’s history, and, if it works, to other fashion brands. “That’s what we want to continue to communicate, and that’s what brings value to our pieces,” Williams said. “It becomes a really great storytelling element”. Alyx belongs to that category of brands which promote durability rather than fast-fashion consumerism. In this regard, Williams and Dominique Guinard, founder and chief technology officer at Evrythng, believe that by knowing the digital identity of one garment, or its ‘journey’, customers might get more attached to the product. In an industry where overproduction and exploitation are toxic constants, sustainability and transparency are increasingly demanded by consumers. Alyx’s experimentation with blockchain technology stands as one of the finest examples of fashion innovation. By exposing its own brand’s data, Williams seeks to inspire a new approach in fashion, calling for other designers to follow suit.
The sustainable production process behind Alyx’s collections, which is now traceable thanks to the new technology, makes sure that its aesthetic is coherent with the message. The use of innovative technologies and the emphasis on transparency never overshadow the technical and aesthetic research that makes the brand’s design so on point. Some say that Alyx anticipates design trends, I’d argue that Alyx is doing way more than that. It is paving a path for a new way of thinking about fashion, technology, and most importantly, an industry future that is sustainable.