In previous years I thought that London Fashion Week was a completely closed-off experience, reserved exclusively for the fash pack and celebrities, but trust me, it's not! This year I found several ways to get involved myself.
1. Photographing Street Style
I always looove the wacky street styles that emerge during Fashion Week, like the red knee-high embellished boots above, and Chopstick Guy's funky shoes. If you don't get involved any other way, just go along to the venue and take photos of the attendees' style. In fact, loads of people come without an invite just to mingle outside, snap photos and be photographed. (I was even snapped a couple of times myself for street style blogs!)It was actually amazing fun and I met several great people.
2. Email PRs about attending shows
I was lucky enough this year to be invited to my first fashion show! I received an email by a representative who had seen my blog and Instagram, inviting me to see a show put on in the Institute of Directors by a retailer called JD.com. This is China's largest e-retailer - as a girl there told me, it's "like the Chinese version of ebay." The venue was beautiful and absolutely filled to the brim with press, bloggers and buyers, and I was thrilled to be a part of it. There were 5 short fashion shows in all, each by one of the popular brands featured on JD.com, such as Ne Tiger and X. Lando, which I've featured pictures from below, as they were my two favourites.
Ne Tiger featured many oriental influences, which I adored. The dresses were amazing, and the bold reds and gold trim and tassels added an extra regal touch to the presentation.
X.Lando's clothes were of immensely high quality; and it was immediately evident that they were couture. I loved the monochrome theme of the presentation - the minimalist feel being a stark contrast to the maximalism currently exploding over the S/S '17 catwalks. My favourite piece was the black dress above, which generated several "oooo"s and "aaahh"s as the model sashayed down the catwalk. The high collar and massive feather skirt reminded me somewhat of McQueen, and added to the gothic feel of the piece. If you're a blogger, I recommend emailing several PR companies a few weeks before Fashion Week and explaining the benefits you could bring if you were present at their clients' shows, or putting out feelers on social media. I'm very fortunate that JD.com contacted me themselves, but honestly, blogging is about putting a lot of hard work in, and the communication between bloggers and PR companies/brands works both ways - especially if you're a small blogger!
3. London Fashion Weekend
I have wanted to go to this event for a while, and finally braved the hefty price tag and paid nearly £60 entry. Although, this ticket did include a show and a talk on the first day (Thursday 22nd), as well as a free tote by Sophia Webster with some goodies in - which was pretty beautiful. Honestly, I had fun, but the event is very commercial, and you have to pay for almost everything - which made me think that I probably prefer industry-specific events. That's why LFWend attracts many people, from all across the country who are interested in fashion, but are not necessarily interested in the industry, and sometimes just come for the designer discounts. In fact, the designer discounts were the best part of the trip - I snagged a classic Burberry cashmere scarf (RRP £300) for £99 which was pretty surreal, as they're almost never on sale!
The show I watched at LFWend was Preen by Thornton Bregazzi, and I did think it was a great collection. There were heavy punk tones seen amongst the black tulle, tartan and gothic eyeliner, which contrasted amazingly when the lighting changed to a shimmery pink and the rose-coloured velvet and glitter came out onto the catwalk. However the room was really crowded, and I had to pay extra for front row seats, which was a bit annoying (I'd been on the third row at JD.com's show and it was not a great view).
(Apologies for the blurry photos, my camera shake isn't great).
There was also a talk I attended on "the Digital Fashion Era", which was relatively interesting; and there were a whole host of talks throughout the weekend. In short, the fashion, particularly the Preen show, was great, but the event itself was a bit commercial and overpriced for my taste. Still definitely worth going once through.
Let me know your tips for getting involved in Fashion Week in the comments!