As the global pandemic wreaks havoc with all scheduled events happening this summer, the British Fashion Council is addressing how it will deal with the upcoming men’s and women’s London Fashion Week programs, which usually take place in June and September.
In a statement released yesterday morning, the BFC announced that the men’s and women’s collections will be merging onto one platform–and that this platform will be digital-only for the very first time. It will launch this June (when the menswear shows usually take place) with interviews, podcasts, designer diaries, webinars, and digital showrooms. And it will, for the first time, be an event open to the public as well as industry insiders.
“It is essential to look at the future and the opportunity to change, collaborate and innovate,” Caroline Rush, BFC chief executive said. “Many of our businesses have always embraced London Fashion Week as a platform for not just fashion but for its influence on society, identity, and culture. The current pandemic is leading us all to reflect more poignantly on the society we live in and how we want to live our lives and build businesses when we get through this.”
Rush added that British fashion must meet the needs of today, as we deal with rapidly changing times for the industry.
“The other side of this crisis, we hope will be about sustainability, creativity, and product that you value, respect, cherish. By creating a cultural fashion week platform, we are adapting digital innovation to best fit our needs today and something to build on as a global showcase for the future. Designers will be able to share their stories, and for those that have them, their collections, with a wider global community; we hope that as well as personal perspectives on this difficult time, there will be inspiration in bucketloads. It is what British fashion is known for.”
Exactly what this new platform will look like will be down to the creativity of the designers and collaborators involved, but the BFC hopes that the new event will serve as a “meet-up point,” which will give the opportunity to designers to generate sales for both the public—through existing collections—and the retailers, through orders for next season’s products.
And, while the event in June will likely be menswear-focused due to timings, this gender-neutral approach will give the opportunity for womenswear designers to take part in whatever capacity they wish. It has yet to be confirmed whether the September shows will be taking place in any physical capacity, but it seems likely that the season will also follow this same digital format.
This article originally appeared on Harper’s BAZAAR US.