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Five highlights from digital London Fashion Week

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Five highlights from digital London Fashion Week
In another season, during another time, London Fashion Week would have been brimming with international press, buyers, influencers and notable industry folk. Front row catwalks would be celebrity-heavy and London abuzz with parties and events for its biannual fashion outing.

Unlike in September, the February catwalks were shown entirely digital with the British Fashion Council banning physical shows, presentations and installations: no events in front of an audience were to take place.

The four-day event was therefore primarily an online affair, with designers taking to film as its main presentational medium. Themes of escapism, heritage and healing were a common thread in the Fall 2021 collections which saw the biannual London Fashion Week transform into a new gender-neutral programme instead of solely womenswear.

Below five highlights from the LFW week digital presentations:

Bora Aksu at Tate Britain

AW21 sees Bora Aksu transport viewers to Revolutionary France amid the tumultuous landscape of war, upheaval and isolation, much of which resonates with current times. The collection is inspired by mathematician and physicist Sophie Germain and draws on the power of isolation and its ability to push people to their limits. Using silhouettes inspired by early 19th century codes, Bora Aksu combines the masculine and feminine codes that defined the early-modern era in a play on Germain’s own attempts to defy the masculine norms of her time. The backdrop of a visitor-free Tate added to the isolationist landscape Germain must have felt, while also highlighting one of London’s most important cultural landmarks, which has been closed and sorely missed by the public during lockdown.

Ahluwalia

In addition to winning the 2021 Queen Elizabeth II Award for Fashion Design, Priya Ahluwalia has been praised for her efforts to change the industry for the better under her namesake label. The Ahluwalia menswear universe for AW21 challenges the fundamental relationship between migration and cultural expression. Despite a near global travel embargo, Ahluwalia questioned the times in history “when people have migrated and it’s led to a real cultural boom, when the mixing of cultures has led to something new,” she told i-D. Translated into garments, the collection held a universal appeal, despite subtle references to heritage. Stripey bleached denim separates, a tailored corduroy two-piece and colour palette inspired by the artworks of Kerry James Marshall and Jacob Lawrence stood out amongst this solid collection.

Burberry men’s standalone presentation

Burberry’s Regent Street flagship was transformed into a maze of blocks in different heights for Creative Director Ricardo Tisci’s first solo menswear outing. Models walked around carrying backpacks with rolled up blankets and umbrellas, with the Burberry trench cementing its core category status from the very first look. In keeping with the gender neutral spirit of LFW, pleated skirts and faux fur coats could easily be translated to the women’s collection. Who wouldn’t want to escape to Burberry’s utility-inspired utopia?

Vivienne Westwood’s Punk Odyssey

London is so often heralded as a hotbed of emerging design talent, but it would be nothing without trailblazers like Vivienne Westwood. Even as Dame Vivien approaches her 80th decade this April, her passion for sustainability and never conforming still sees the brand at the top of its game. For fall Westwood took inspiration from the rococo painting Daphnis and Chloe by the French artist François Boucher. Mix in her signature subsersive drape and a fashion love affair is born. Over ninety percent of the materials used for this collection was repurposed from deadstock and existing fabrics to minimise its environmental impact.

Simone Rocha

It is hard to imagine Simone Rocha launched her company only 10 years ago. Having a multitude of achievements and accolades under her belt, a collaboration with H&M may be a pivotal moment for the brand to reach a wider, international audience. Though not that she needs this. The always visceral, sculptural and feminine landscape of Rocha’s collections have given her great acclaim, and this season were transformed with elements of funk. The setting was a Gothic church near Hyde Park, where tapestry dresses, bulbous sleeves and hand-embroidered silks were met with a biker jacket andplatform boot-sneaker footwear. In an interview with the New York Times Rocha was inspired by the idea of winter roses, for their strength and fragility. “You have the fragility of the petals, but then also the thorns, which kind of made me think of rebellious spirits and fragile rebels. I worked a lot in leather, which I sculpted into more feminine shapes — really waisted and with amplified hips. But then slowly that breaks down throughout the collection to a fragility beneath, which is these embroidered flowers on tulle and nets.”

Images: Simone Rocha x H&M, courtesy H&M; Bora Aksu; Burberry; Vivienne Westwood

Five highlights from digital London Fashion Week

Five highlights from digital London Fashion Week

Five highlights from digital London Fashion Week

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Fashion

Nilit partners with The Ocean Foundation

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Image: Sensil Facebook

Nylon brand Nilit has partnered with The Ocean Foundation on its Blue Resilience Initiative.

Joining The Ocean Foundation’s Blue Resilience Initiative, the collaboration aims to protect essential ocean meadows and other coastal habitats. According to Nilit, marine grasslands are being damaged at the rate of two football fields per hour. As important oceanic ecosystems, the grasslands help to reduce global warming by taking CO2 from the atmosphere.

Nilit, which also owns sustainable brand Sensil, has previously stated that protecting the oceans and reducing CO2 is part of its Total Product Sustainability Program. Recently, it reduced CO2 emissions at its main facility, and has utilised clean energy techniques at its manufacturing plants.

“NILIT and The Ocean Foundation can affect both sides of the ocean health equation and, together, make a more substantial impact on the well-being of our oceans and our planet,” said head of global marketing at Nilit, Sagee Aran.

The Ocean Foundation’s Blue Resilience Initiative focuses on coastal reconstruction and providing carbon offsets for foundations, corporations, donors and events. Its work notes the ecological and social impact that coastal areas have on the world, with man made infrastructure degrading nature’s natural defense mechanisms. The Blue Initiative seeks to restore and protect these coastal habitats.

“We are excited to join in The Ocean Foundation’s crucial work to protect the marine ecosystems that sustain life in the oceans and on land,” said Aran. “The Ocean Foundation investment, we have expanded our vision far beyond the traditional supply chain structure so that we can more rapidly and effectively bring about positive environmental impact.”

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Nordstrom and Nike partner with Black Owned Everything

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Image: Nordstrom x Nike x Black Owned Everything
Image: Nordstrom x Nike x Black Owned Everything

Multibrand retailer Nordstrom has launched a partnership with marketplace Black Owned Everything, a platform promoting Black-owned businesses, and its founder Zerina Akers.

The collaboration sees Akers and Nordstrom come together on a curated selection featuring four Black-owned brands, displayed alongside new Nike and Jordan collections in the Nordstrom x Nike dedicated online space.

Labels included in the curation are William Okpo, Sammy B, L’Enchanteur and handbag designer Brandon Blackwood.

Image: Nordstrom x Nike x Black Owned Everything
Image: Nordstrom x Nike x Black Owned Everything

“When we launched Black Owned Everything back in February of this year, partnerships like Nordstrom x Nike were exactly the type of activations I had in mind to amplify the reach of the Black designers whom I work with and mentor,” said Akers, in a release.

She continued: “This intersection of well-established brands and emerging designers is where the progress of Black Owned Everything’s mission takes place.

“The inclusion of these selected designers is a big step for their individual career paths and an even bigger step in the right direction for the American marketplace and beyond.

Image: Nordstrom x Nike x Black Owned Everything
Image: Nordstrom x Nike x Black Owned Everything

“This curation is a fun mix of fashion and lifestyle pieces for the people who are keen to street trends and enjoy functionality.”

Simultaneous with the online presence of the collection, Black Owned Everything merchandise will also be available at four Nordstrom x Nike pop-ups in US-based Nordstrom stores.

Image: Nordstrom x Nike x Black Owned Everything
Image: Nordstrom x Nike x Black Owned Everything
Image: Nordstrom x Nike x Black Owned Everything
Image: Nordstrom x Nike x Black Owned Everything
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Sustainable flea market site Farly to launch in UK

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Image: Farly
Image: Farly

Fashion marketplace Farly has announced it is set to launch in the UK on November 11, bringing its flea market approach of resale to new vintage-loving consumers.

Marketed as a virtual flea market, the site hopes to reinvent shopping in a fun and carefully curated way. Its concept revolves around virtual shop windows and mood boards intended to inspire visitors.

Farly looks to appeal to independent sellers, small retailers, artists and curators, providing potential users with the option to design their own shop window through image uploads and editing tools, helping to enhance their offering.

Image: Farly
Image: Farly

“As the world prepares for the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) summit this November, the importance of climate change and looking after our planet has been more prominent than ever,” stated Farleigh Hungerford, Farly’s founder, in a release.

She continued: “Farly only encourages the sale of vintage, pre-loved and second-hand items and we really encourage sellers to have sustainability at heart, from packaging to thinking about the origin of the product all the way to the end of the items’ life cycle.

“Farly adds to this message with the core values at the heart of the business, encouraging users to re-use, recycle and restyle.”

The platform will also feature a reward system, called Farly Points, where sellers can earn points through promoting sales from curated items in their virtual shop windows. Building up points can contribute to discounts for users with the monetisation of their displays.

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