Strut into London Fashion Week with Reuters Connect - Reuters News Agency

Strut into London Fashion Week with Reuters Connect

As Somerset House makes the final touches for London Fashion Week 2019, let’s take a look into the Reuters Connect archives to remember LFW’s historic moments.

By  Clare Cavanagh | Feb 07, 2019

Excitement is in the air as the fashion industry eagerly awaits the opening of one of the ‘Big Four’ fashion weeks. London Fashion Week (LFW) opens on Friday 15th February, celebrating 35 years of British style.

Let’s take a look back through the Reuters archives to see the event’s best memories captured over the years.

Edgy 80’s roots: LFW launched in a car park

Founded by the British Fashion Council (BFC) in 1983, London Fashion Week was launched in a West London car park in 1984 to gain global awareness of British talent within the UK fashion industry. LFW was hugely successful in the 1980s with a buzz around new British talent having an opportunity to promote their own collections, including debuts for significant designers such as Betty Jackson and John Galliano.

Designer Betty Jackson (centre left) at the end of her catwalk show | 1995

Controversial ’90s

The 1990s proved financially challenging for the fashion industry in a post-recession world. However, it was the decade that brought the first appearances of British supermodels, two of the most notable were 16 year-old Kate Moss and a size-14 Sophie Dahl.

This combination caused debates about what the fashion industry had become, sparking controversial discussions amongst consumers and designers about anorexia and the lack of plus-size models.

British supermodel Kate Moss (left) and Sophie Dahl, Roald Dahl’s granddaughter (right) | 1997

Reset in the Naughties

In 2005, Topshop became the first high street store featured at LFW, broadening the event’s appeal beyond designers. LFW had only ever presented fashion at costs that were prohibitive for the majority of consumers. This new vision of engagement in LFW brought the audience closer to the action through its inclusive approach –– it also allowed for more diversity.

Topshop Unique show | 2006

Tech transition in the Twenty-tens?

Since the mid-2000s, the high level of influence in marketing and products within the fashion culture has been recognised and made more relevant in terms of the values and ethos within the fashion industry.

In 2014, Anya Hindmarch set up an unforgettable barcode runway for her ‘Counter Collection’ which promoted fun and quirky well-known supermarket products, encouraging consumers to ‘seize the day to “get happy”’.

In 2018, debut designer Honee Persona and robotics company OhmniLabs went cyberpunk, having the first robot model at LFW covered in crystal couture roll down the runway. “I want to bring an awareness that AI, as wonderful as technology is, it can never replace human beings. We have the energy. We are the creator,” said Persona.

Anya Hindmarch | Autumn/Winter 2014

Designers and brands have continued to explore more diverse media opportunities over the last decade. In 2015, All Saints chose to embrace the technology available and displayed their shows on social media platforms. In abandoning the traditional runway, they delighted new audiences who had a front row seat from their own home.

From high fashion to the high street, from the UK to Europe and beyond, the London Fashion Week exploration of diverse themes, styles and branding has gained huge global interest. With robots, barcodes and social media screens behind us, what new technological ways will harness new audiences in 2019? We can’t wait to find out!