Burberry Revolutionised Retail
Part of what makes London Fashion Week so thrilling is its exclusivity; you’re getting a sneak peak at fashions that likely won’t make to to the public for an entire season or even an entire year. In some cases, you may even get to lay eyes on items only available directly from the designer. This is a major pull for fashion-lovers, designers and laymen alike from all across the world.
SoHo (situated just 6 mins on the tube from us) during the height of London Fashion Week is a buzzing hotspot of who’s-who’s, hobnobbing and shoulder-rubbing with the world’s best and budding designers, and everyone wants in.
But well-known clothing line Burberry (whose HQ is a 10-15 minute walk from the hotel), may have broken that mould this year in a single foul swoop.
In what can only be considered a breath of fresh air by some, and a questionable idea by others. Burberry chose to skip the delay-to-release this year and made their entire line available to the public online. No six-month wait, no chance for high-street chains to take advantage of copycat lines, no opportunity for wheeling and dealing really at all.
It’s essentially breaking free of the middleman game and going right to the source.
This “see now, buy now” model really breaks the mould, doing something that was virtually unheard of previously in the fashion world. For decades, it was an unspoken rule that there be a three, six or 12-month gap between the runway and the road, giving journalists time to talk the lines up and stores time to invest in the products.
This old-school marketing style was once very effective, but many are challenging its use in the current digital world we live in. Why rely on the words of others and deals to market your clothing, when you can open your own online store and market them through social media instead?
Mixed responses to the move ranged from some labelling the company as innovative, while others rued the change, suggesting that it would break the exclusivity and bring down the overall value of the clothing simply because it was more common, and therefore, less of a status symbol.
Technology Ruled the Roost
Fashion, much like art of any kind, is often not only about the end result itself but the culture that surrounds it. Many things can impact that culture, from the people chosen to attend to the venues and even the location or country in which the event is held.
This year, technology played a major role at London Fashion Week, shaping and changing not only how the event ran, but how designers were able to present their offerings as a whole.
The “see now, buy now” approach was a major element of this, and could potentially be considered a technological marvel in its own right, but it was far from the only advancement we saw this year. The use of chatbots, SnapChat, and even alternative realities made this year more interesting than any year prior.
Brands brought chatbots created by MSG.ai and social media together to market clothing directly to fans via instant messaging on both Facebook and Twitter. With research showing that the social media and personalised approach to marketing is more readily accepted by the public than ever, this was a smart move. “Messaging is becoming the new browser and the gateway to consumer life, with artificial intelligence bots being the new user interface.”
MSG.ai’s founder, Puneet Mehta, agrees. In an article with The Guardian, he spoke out in favour of the approach, stating that, “Messaging is becoming the new browser and the gateway to consumer life, with artificial intelligence bots being the new user interface.”
Some brands also made use of SnapChat over Instagram to give the public a live peek at the shows. Unlike Instagram, SnapChat’s instant, deletable format makes it easy to show images for just a few seconds at a time, promoting some of the exclusivity that the “see now, buy now” movement removed.
Augmented reality’s rol in London Fashion Week became immediately clear for those who chose to attend designer Martine Jarlgaard’s spring and summer show; truthfully, the designer presented almost the entire line to them via hologram. Each guest donned a Microsoft Hololens headset to make the clothing line pop into full colour right before their eyes.
Black Made a Comeback (With a Few Friends)
The idea that “black is always in” is only partially true. As a colour in fashion (putting aside for the moment that it’s really not a colour at all), it tends to wax and wane season-to-season depending on trends. For lovers of all things sleek, elegant or goth, some seasons can end up feeling just a bit too bright and flighty. Within London Fashion Week 2017, nothing could have been further from the truth.
Overall, the colours we saw were heavily influenced by a distinctly 80s aesthetic. Black made a big comeback this season, dominating the runways with elegant and stylish creations laden with audacious lines, but often with its five most colour friends in tow.
In fact, colour creator Pantone analysed the show and identified that the five most common colours found throughout were:
- Niagara blue
- Primrose Yellow
- Lapis Blue
- Flame red
- Island Paradise
We saw it sparkle, we saw it sequin, we saw it lace. We even saw soft black hair and black makeup – spurring on the return of the goth, perhaps?
Millennial Designers Multiplied
If you haven’t heard of NewGen yet, you’re missing out. This London Fashion Week programme is renowned for bringing in best and brightest upcoming designers, giving them the support they need to showcase their collections for what may be the first time at London Fashion Week. While 2017 is hardly the first year for NextGen to take place, this TOPSHOP-sponsored event brought in some truly amazing first this year, and many fashion lovers were impressed with their creations.
24-year-old designer Clio Peppiatt made her debut this year, showcasing a collection rife with retro futurism and an almost Lisa Frank style appeal. Bright colours, rainbow sparkles and bold designs brought a fresh face that we haven’t often seen at London Fashion Week since the early 1990s.
Conversely, 29-year-old Youjia Jin’s collection was all about slowing down and appreciating each moment. The Chinese designer used a combination of orchestral instruments and soft, shimmery colours like grey and charcoal black to tell her story. Despite her young age, there’s an incredible maturity to each of her creations that carries a peaceful, minimal vibe.
Your Home Base for Style Exploration
Though this year’s fashion week is over, London remains a year-round hubub and hotspot for any fashion lover from around the world. If you’re considering coming for the next Fashion Week, are a designer showing your clothing, or are just looking for a central home base uptown that will keep you closer to the action, we want to help. Stay with The Melita and you’ll be just steps away from all of Westminster and only a few stops away from SoHo, too.
Our cosy rooms are well-kept, quiet, and just right for getting some rest between excursions, whether you’re here for work or just to shop. Snag incredible style favourites from stores like Agent Provocateur, Albam, Absolute Vintage and Lazy Oaf and become one of the thousands of guests who fall in love with London’s fashion sense each and every year.
We have had fashionistas from over 45 countries staying with us, so you’re in good company.
In the planning stages of your trip? Call us. We’ll help you put together an itinerary and book your room. So once you arrive, all that’s left to do is relax, enjoy, and shop!