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!