Hot on the heels of the New York autumn-winter 2014 shows, 77 designers will show their latest creations around the British capital.
More than 5,000 buyers, journalists, and bloggers from 48 countries are expected to attend the shows, which generate over £100m (€120m) in orders, according to the British Fashion Council.
Alongside the big names, London will showcase the collection by trendy British wellie boot maker Hunter, a timely reminder that outside the fashion bubble, much of the rest of England is being battered by storms and deluged by floods.
“With the British weather, of course this focus on rainwear is certainly of the moment,” said Caroline Rush, British Fashion Council CEO.
The ready-to-wear Hunter Original collection, under the stewardship of Stella McCartney’s husband Alasdhair Willis as creative director, was expected to be full of surprises today.
The opening day’s catwalks focused on the work of graduates of Central St Martins, the London school that is a conveyor belt of fashion talent.
South Korea’s J JS Lee and the Felder Felder sisters from Germany kicked off the shows. Despite the buzz around emerging stars, Rush said the international focus would be on “the whole cohort of future global fashion brands”,citing Christopher Kane, a label snapped up by Kering group, and JW Anderson, who has signed a deal with the LVMH luxury brands giant. “Those deals in the past couple of years have really helped cement the understanding that there is opportunity for growth and investment in young British businesses,” Rush said.
The fashion industry is worth £21bn to the British economy and employs more than 800,000 people, the British Fashion Councilestimates. One major contributor is Topshop, the brand that is riding the crest of a wave with a new store opening on New York’s Fifth Avenue and Kate Moss’s latest collection hitting shops within weeks. Its catwalk show by top-end line Unique, takes place tomorrow.
In the constant search for innovation, the London Fashion Week organisers are fielding thousands of requests from fashion bloggers, an increasingly important sector — they received 2,000 last year.