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London Fashion Week to become online-only event amid coronavirus pandemic

Event, which is normally when LFW Men's is held, will be gender-neutral and open to the general public

Sarah Young
Tuesday 21 April 2020 12:07 BST
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The next London Fashion Week (LFW) is going to be held entirely online for the first time in the event’s 40-year history, its organisers have announced.

On Tuesday, the British Fashion Council (BFC) confirmed that a new version of LFW is being launched during the previously scheduled dates for London Fashion Week: Men’s – which was due to take place between 12 and 14 June 2020 – in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

Instead of physical shows, the event will be completely digital, with content such as interviews, podcasts and digital showrooms rolling out on londonfashionweek.co.uk.

The new event will also be gender-neutral, meaning that menswear, womenswear and genderless shows will be merged together.

The BFC has also confirmed that the new version of LFW will be open to everyone, welcoming both industry insiders and fashion consumers.

Speaking to The Independent, a spokesperson for the BFC said that the format for September’s LFW, which traditionally spotlights womenswear, has not yet been decided but that it will also be gender-neutral.

“It is essential to look at the future and the opportunity to change, collaborate and innovate,” said Caroline Rush, chief executive of the BFC.

“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. 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.”

Rush continued by explaining that the new format will allow designers to share their stories and collections with a wider global community.

“We hope that as well as personal perspectives on this difficult time, there will be inspiration in bucketloads,” Rush added. “It is what British fashion is known for.”

LFW is not the first fashion week to be turned into an online-only event.

In April, Shanghai held a digital fashion week, while Tokyo opted to livestream its fashion week shows in March. However, the BFC’s decision will make London the first city on the major fashion circuit to adopt a exclusively digital model.

A series of industry events have been affected by coronavirus in recent weeks.

Last month, Prada announced that it had decided to postpone its Cruise 2021 show, which was scheduled to take place on 21 May in Tokyo, due to coronavirus fears.

Gucci has also confirmed that it will not be going ahead with its Cruise 2021 show, which was due to take place on 18 May in San Francisco.

A spokesperson for Gucci said the brand’s decision was in light of “the ongoing uncertainty prompted by the coronavirus outbreak” and that is was “a precautionary measure”.

“A decision on the new timing and location of the show will be announced at a later date, once the situation becomes clearer,” the statement continued.

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