I, like many people had planned to attend London Fashion Week Men’s Spring Summer 2021. Running between runways, showings and meetings, the twice yearly event is known to be a whirlwind for those privy and privileged to an invite. And for those of us who are normally viewing the Instagram live streams from the other side of the world, it meant hunching over the laptop screen to watch along at all hours of the morning. However, this year was starkly different for the industry we once knew as events were forced to go digital for the first time ever.
Amid the current health crisis, the fashion industry has been forced to rethink how it operates and in response to this, the British Fashion Council announced the all-inclusive virtual London Fashion Week. From June 12 to June 14, the likes of Bianca Saunders, Martine Rose and SHOOP graced the packed lineup along with a curation of panel discussions, digital showing rooms and visual projects.
The bold event however was not without its challenges with many lauded designers and heavyweight participants including Burberry, Craig Green, A-COLD-WALL* and Vivienne Westwood opting out due to strict lockdowns meaning many resources needed to present garments were unavailable. In addition, the #BlackLivesMatter protests which have spread throughout the globe understandably caused many designers to express discomfort around presenting new work when much of the world was grappling with violence and political unrest.
Nevertheless, the digital event went ahead and in a time where the world will be at peace once more – hopefully with positive change – London Fashion Week and many more runway events like it could see a more permanent virtual and all-inclusive counterpart to the already-established tradition.
If you missed the weekend of events, the content can still be viewed here. And in the meantime, these were the highlights.
British-born designer Martine Rose has always been known for a progressive outlook on fashion, often using her platform to promote social change. The cult label was one of the most high-profile on the virtual London Fashion Week calendar and instead of presenting a Spring/Summer 2021 collection, released a conscious capsule collection with the retailer LN-CC. She used deadstock fabrics from her own studio and to celebrate the occasion collaborated with poet and activist Kai-Isaiah Jamal on a short film.
asics x shoop
Founded by Spanish designer Miriam Sanz and her Japanese partner Yohei Oki, the contemporary design duo of SHOOP was tapped by ASICS to reinterpret the Gel-Nimbus 22. The futuristic sneakers use a technique of deconstruction and vacuum packaging in PVC and features removable spats of the creators’ own design. In addition, the capsule includes classic running garments reinterpreted by SHOOP through an upcycling process, including a reversible mask, a hoodie, a trousers, various shirts and a bikini bottoms.
charles jeffery – loverboy
In the lead up to London Fashion Week, avant-garde designer Charles Jeffery had planned to hold a virtual party. But in light of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, Jeffery used his platform to host a talent showcase. The event highlighted Black creatives while viewers were asked to donate to Black Pride UK. It was accompanied by the revealing of a fresh capsule collection set to drop during December 2020 with proceeds going towards the Kaleidoscope Trust.