British fashion thrives on its notoriety as ”the devil may care” fashion style. Back in Renaissance days, William Shakespeare referenced Punks (these unruly youths) in one of his plays, so it doesn’t come as any surprise that the Brits still like to do their own thing regardless of how they may be perceived across the pond. It’s been working for them, so why change? Rock on!
As London Fashion Week (LFW) evolved and took ‘up steam through the 1990′s, its designers’ profiles increased to such an extent that the global press started to notice and to speculate who would stay and who would go? Yes, as it turned out, a batch of British talents started to head across the channel to bring their Magna Britannia twist to various established Gallic brands (Chloé, Christian Dior, Givenchy…), as well as support teams to established designers, especially in Italy.
By the 2000′s, others, still based in London, decided to show their collections in Milan or Paris instead (Burberry, John Galliano, Alexander McQueen, John Richmond, even including the Fashion Queen herself, Vivienne Westwood). This migration is currently retreating back to home-turf after a decade; and I suspect it is no mere coincidence that this foreign venture worked PR wonders for these designers as the press always identified them as Brits.
The emergence of British fashion onto the global stage may be directly linked to the numerous fashion schools in and around London (London College of Fashion, Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, University of Westminster and Kingston University). Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design is the PR behemoth, the beehive that churned-out the likes of Burton, Chalayan, Galliano, Kokosalaki, McQueen, McCartney, Ozbek, Philo, Pugh, among many others.
It must be said that British sartorial eccentricities, when combined with that Punk attitude, is a creative win-win combo that opens more than a few doors and opportunities. Then again, the line between fashion and costume is a fine one and cannot be overlooked. Everybody gets their 15 minutes, their place in the sun, and with London Fashion Week now well-established the only real question is who will be the NEW next best thing?
We’ll find out soon enough!
PS: Fashion gossip:
Did you know that there is now a Condé Nast Fashion School? Can we say conflict of interest?
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