Since her appointment at The British Fashion Council in 2009, Caroline Rush has been at the forefront of innovation. As well as supporting established brands, the Chief Executive of the British Fashion Council champions emerging designers such as Labrum, Nicholas Daley and Nensi Dojaka. After two years of pandemic-induced hybrid digital and physical shows, she tells us what’s on the menu for the AW22 shows, and why London Fashion Week remains one of the most exciting events in the world.
What is your favourite thing about London Fashion Week?
"London is the leading city in terms of creativity and innovation, and a place to discover new emerging talent. What sets London apart is its fearless imagination and the blurring of the lines between art and commerce. From the bigger and more well-known brands such as Vivienne Westwood, and Erdem, through to burgeoning emerging brands such as Nicholas Daley and Nensi Dojaka, it is no secret that our London designers are the ones setting the bar for creativity but also responsible business. London represents creative freedom; it is all about the new, the cool, the colourful, and it’s a place where innovation is welcomed. This to me is what makes our city and LFW so special, and one of the most exciting places in the world to live and visit."
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Caroline Rush, Chief Executive of The British Fashion Council
How do you think the energy and talent of London compares with the other major fashion weeks?
"London is the place for creative entrepreneurs and designers with an ability to match creativity with commerciality. Take Roksanda’s September show, which took place at the Serpentine pavilion and was filled with dancers and models taking part in an immersive performance or Labrum London, who through his latest collection celebrated the style and culture brought over to Britain in the 1970s by Caribbean and African migrants. These are both great examples of how creativity and passion is what British fashion is built on and respected on the global stage."
Coming out of the pandemic, what will be different about this season’s fashion week to last?
"This season will bring together fashion, culture, and technology in a 5-day celebration of the creativity and innovation London is known for. The event will curate excellence and empower growth, showcasing exceptional designer fashion talent with a mix of emerging designers and international luxury brands on schedule. The event will continue to be a hybrid of physical and digital, giving designers the option to choose how they want to tell their story and present their vision with an incredible line-up of 129 brands, including 86 physical activations and 61 digital activations. New this season is a partnership with London Fashion Week’s principal partner Clearpay and ready-to-wear label Roksanda. Together, the duo will create an NFT, making fashion available to all, while still featuring all the same intricate details and design excellence expected from a physical piece. There will also be an AR component which allows consumers to interact and engage with the piece."
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Do you think the pandemic has given designers the freedom to do presentations over runway shows?
"It has been awe-inspiring to see how British brands have tackled the challenges over the last two years. Since we launched the digital LFW platform back in 2020, we’ve seen a lot more focus on creative content rather than actual product, offering designers visibility with digital projects such as films, panel discussions and 3D exhibitions – proving that fashion weeks are so much more than just shows. The digital hub will continue to be the official digital LFW Hub also moving forward, offering our designers the flexibility to choose whatever format they might prefer."
What is your opinion on the continuation of digital shows?
"The digital LFW platform will continue to host evergreen multimedia designer content accessible to both industry professionals and global fashion consumers alike. The pandemic has forced many designers to re-evaluate the ways they communicate with their audience and technology has transformed the way fashion is consumed. Fashion can be accessible, democratic, and omnipresent. The digital platform has enabled designers to expand their creative worlds and convey their brand message in new and exciting ways."