London Fashion Week has come to a close, but the collective fashion consciousness is still absorbing the week’s events.
150 designer presentations, 83 catwalk shows and an opening speech from Prime Minister Theresa May herself once again cemented London as the centre of the fashion world.
May’s speech referred to the changing face of the retail industry, not only in the face of Brexit but in supporting those looking for careers in the new roles that technology is demanding.
However, the change that really made a lasting impression this LFW was the new “runway to retail” initiative which has revolutionised the fashion schedule.
Adopted by Topshop, Burberry and Ralph Lauren among others, wide-eyed catwalk observers can now purchase their favourite items instantly.
“Fashion Week is an important benchmark for retail and the fact that this trend of immediacy is growing around it means it’s vital to pioneer in this direction,” Demandware head of industry insights Jamie Merrick said.
“The millennial shopper, as the first digitally native generation, no longer has to play by the ‘old rules’, so brands now have the opportunity to cut straight to the shopper and start the conversation on their terms."
POPSUGAR European managing director Genevieve Kunst, who hosted a Social House event for LFW said it was all about immediacy and personalisation.
"People are no longer willing to wait six months to buy something that was on the runway, particularly when fast fashion and homages make it to the stores faster than the original," she said.
“It is definitely here to stay, but it is dependent upon the brand, its consumer and their expectations.
"Seeing a heritage brand like Burberry at the forefront of this illustrates that it is something that every label will be considering, especially as brands become more and more digitally engaged with their consumers.”
A significant change from the six month wait which has been the industry standard since the early days of LFW, the radical change has been brought about by social media, which through its democratisation has blown apart the old conventions and forced retailers to adopt innovative new strategies.
“Social media has democratised fashion and made it much more immediate and accessible to everyone," Kunst said.
“Additionally, the sources and sites that people visit to get their inspiration have grown exponentially and individuals can follow that influencer or site that most reflects who they are.
“The result is a more tailored and curated way to inspire and consume fashion. Social media allows the reader/viewer to engage with others who are just as passionate. It is no longer a one-way street."
Merrick added: “Fashion week has always been extremely popular but technology has helped to democratise it – the consumer can now get much closer to the event via technology and from much a broader set of sources, including traditional magazines, bloggers and social media channels."