What I learnt at London Fashion Week

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Wow, what an amazing few days it was visiting London Fashion Week. Seriously I had the best time and have been on a bit of a come down since Sunday but I have so many amazing memories that I will cherish forever. I was so honoured and excited to be selected by Wendy Elmore, Director of London College of Style, to attend LFW as part of the college reporting team alongside fellow Stylits Claire McNestry and Miranda Holden. Between us we rushed around, worked hard and laughed a LOT. To be named as One to Watch by the college one week, and on the reporting team at LFW the next really was a dream come true and I’m so grateful for all the support the college has given me since training with them back in November.

I thought rather than talking you though the day by day (which you might have already seen on Instagram), I’d reflect back on the experience and think about the observations I made. So here’s what I learnt at Fashion Week:

  1. The people watching opportunities are incredible!

I think this was possibly one of my favourite parts of the experience. Growing up in London, loving fashion I absolutely love feeling inspired by walking around on the streets, seeing what people are wearing, how they put things together. Just getting the tube somewhere in London is enough to get me feeling creative when I spot a girl’s outfit and admire what she’s done. I’ve always loved checking out and appreciating girls outfits on a night out and this was just inspiration galore. Everywhere we went there were ‘fashion girls’ hanging around, waiting for shows or queuing somewhere. I papped some of my favourites but seriously I could have gone on all day every day. It was a brilliant way to get feeling inspired. If you google “LFW street style’ there are hundreds of pics and you can get inspired for yourself.

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2. Literally ANYTHING goes

Where I live in Hackney there are lots of creatives who have amazing style and at times dress in quite a unique way which I love to appreciate. Fashion week was on another scale! It was amazing. I’ve mentioned how it was incredible to watch people but what I also learnt was that you really can wear absolutely anything you want and no one would bat an eyelid. Yes, everyone is watching and checking everyone’s outfits out but I really didn’t feel judged at all. Claire McNestry nailed it when she said ‘you could have come in your Micky Mouse pyjamas and no one would have thought anything of it.’ So true. You can go all out and dress up to the nines, or chill in jeans and trainers. It doesn’t matter. It’s all about whatever vibe you’re feeling and whatever look you’re wanting to rock. Imagine something you’ve been dying to wear or a look you feel like you’ve had no where to go to try it? Fashion week is the time. So refreshing and so so fun.

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3. The models are friendlier than they look!

Models are notorious for not smiling on the catwalk (they aren’t allowed) and while they are waiting behind the scenes, they may be exhausted having walked in goodness knows how many shows beforehand. BUT when you have time to chat and get to know them they are often really friendly with a really interesting story. I met models from China, Albania, France, Manchester and Russia to name a few. Some of them are really young and away from family for the first time, and some of them are juggling other jobs, working fashion week to make some extra cash and trying to build up their portfolio. We waited quite a while backstage with them all and they were generally very welcoming and up for chatting to pass the time. Not what my first impression was at all but I love that people always surprise you.

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4. Diversity of body shape has a very long way to go

I was really pleased to see a huge diversity in ethnicity of the models at the Fyodor Golan show. The outcome was a much more interesting and in my opinion beautiful mix of girls. BUT I have to say, there was a HUGE lack in body shape diversity across all the shows I went to, and really only one type of body shape being represented. This is such a shame and unfortunately completely unrealistic but having been involved, I also understood a bit more about why this is…I watched two fittings sessions with the designers. This means at some point before the show when the designer and stylist decide which model is going to wear which look. All the garments roughly need to fit each girl to make the ‘fitting’ easier. So that she can be put in to the dress/look the designer wants her in with no adjustments needed. It would be amazing one day to see these garments made to fit to larger measurements so that a more diverse range of body shape is represented but it’s something that is going to take a long time to change I am sure. In the meantime, I love following models like Charli Howard who celebrate their body shape and represents women with a more realistic size.

5. It is a real occasion

The atmosphere felt like a carnival or street party. All around the strand it was completely buzzing with people hanging around, chatting, peacocking their outfit creations. There were reporters and musicians, street entertainers and protestors. Everywhere you go there is something to look at. You can make a real occasion out of it and make a whole day of it. It was such a fun atmosphere and you could really go to town on making it an occasion.

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6. Photographers are everywhere

Literally everywhere you go there were photographers, trying to get ‘the’ pic of the day. It was quite intimidating for two reasons. If they start papping as you walk past them it feels weird and if they don’t it’s also a bit awkward! But they were there, and not going anywhere. My socks and sandals got a lot of attention as did Claire’s bright yellow Zatchels bag which was photographed a LOT over the few days were there. It was entertaining that’s for sure.

7. Getting dressed up to get papped is a thing

We witnessed girls that were dressed immaculately in outfits, often coordinating with their friends and looking AMAZING. As people were queuing up for a show with their ticket, these girls would hang around nonchalantly looking at their phones and getting papped by the photographers and then when everyone starts to go in to the show, they slope off! They either don’t have a ticket or aren’t interested in going, they are just there to get photographed. Eye opening but true!!

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8. Little sunglasses are a big, big thing

Yep that’s right, the little sunglasses trend is big and I don’t think it’s going anywhere any time soon. I saw loads of girls rocking little skinny sunglasses, often worn at the end of their nose a la Gigi and Bella and I must say, I’m not yet convinced…

9. You will walk a lot

The shows happen in lots of different venues across London and you may need to get quite quickly from one show to another. It is definitely worth carefully considering your shoe choice, as you will be in them all day, and will be walking a lot. We started off in Kings Cross, headed down to The Strand and then to Covent Garden. Thankfully my high heels were comfy but had they not have been I reckon the day would have been a very different story!

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10. I get what the FROW is all about

I’ve always seen the front row at fashion week as being all about status. That if you get to sit there it means you’ve made it and it is a place to be seen. Maybe stupidly I’ve never really thought of the fact that the experience of being on the front row is absolutely the best experience you can get. Being that close to the clothes, feeling the movement of the garments swish past you and the clomp of the models heel on the runway is just breathtaking. I was lucky enough to sneak in at the front at Zeynep Kartel and it was a moment I will always remember being so close to the action.

11. It’s worth taking any ticket you can get just to get in there

But saying that, I would appreciate the opportunity to go to a show whatever seat I was in! You still get the feel of the drama being in the room, despite whether you may be 4 rows back or even standing. It’s all an amazing experience and you will see some beautiful creations and get really inspired.

12. You can volunteer directly with designers

If you would like to go to some of the SS18 shows, you can volunteer directly with designers to dress for them if this is something you’d like to do and you can show you are qualified to do so. When I was dressing there were others there who had just directly approached the designer a month in advance offering their skills. In terms of the shows you need to be invited by the PR but there is London Fashion Week Festival to go to which kicks off tomorrow and you can buy tickets for lots of cool events.

13. You will laugh a lot

At times backstage it’s quite tense and high pressure, as the show is nearing and tensions are starting to mount you can feel the atmosphere in the air. During show time it is non stop, changing models in to outfits and ensuring they look immaculate. In between it all however there is lots of time to wait, whether it be backstage or waiting between shows. This gave us so much opportunity to have fun and get to know people. I didn’t know Claire and Miranda at all before I did Fashion Week with them and we have such a great time, sometimes crying laughing at things that happened. It was good for the soul and they were a pleasure to hang out with.

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14. If you’re name’s not down you’re not getting in

Seriously. There is no blagging your way in to anything! Not that we tried. But everywhere you go the security is really strict and you have to show a ticket or wristband. You need to have proof on entrance so never expect to turn up and just get in.

15. It’s tiring but amazing

There are early starts and late nights. You are on your feet a lot during the day and waiting in between shows. There are a million people to meet and a million people’s names to remember but I honestly absolutely loved it all! It felt like one big massive celebration and was such a fun thing to be part of. I always say that fashion is for fun and this was a prime example to me that really when you just have fun with it and enjoy it for the incredible art form it is, there is nothing more amazing. I literally cannot wait to go again!!

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As always, please let me know if you have any questions.

LIBBY XX

 

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