How I Survived London Fashion Week

No, this isn’t going to be ANOTHER downer post, because my first LFW was actually pretty good…if a bit weird.

To say I was woefully unprepared for London Fashion Week would be the understatement of the century. I had thought I was going to be away with work last weekend, so I didn’t pre-register, I didn’t apply to go to any shows, I didn’t even shmooze any PRs in that oh so obvious ‘yeah, yeah, I so agree. You’re always so on the money. Oh by the way it’s London Fashion Week next week and can you get me tickets to all of the shows please and thanks?’ kinda way. When you combine this with the fact that I’ve only really been writing about fashion for around 8 or 9 months, you can pretty much consider this LFW 101.

The first thing I wanted to do was get myself accredited. I had heard that out of nearly 1,000 bloggers who pre-registered around 80% were turned down, but I’d also heard through the grapevine that registering on the day wasn’t too hard as long as you had a business card and get over 5,000 page views a month. I filled in a form, the guy behind the counter flirted with me a bit (either that or he just tells everyone he ‘likes their blogs’) and even scored me a Mulberry tote. So far, so good. While this was all well and good for me, it’s kind of a shame for people like Unlimited by JK, a friend of mine who runs a blog that gets thousands of hits a month alongside a full-time university course but didn’t hear back when he tried to pre-register. AND he’s the only male finalist in the Cosmo Blog Awards…

Truthfully, even if I’d known I was going to be around for LFW I probably wouldn’t have applied for any shows anyway. In my eyes, catwalk shows are most relevant for photographers – by having a subject that’s already ‘art’, a good photographer should not only take catwalk shots that make you feel as if you were there, but also impart something more with their photos. I don’t consider myself a photographer, nor do I consider people who try to cover up how horrifically blurry their pics are by using Instagram photographers…But more on this by a friend here.

While seeing who’s on the frow is a curiosity for me, I don’t particularly have any desire to rub elbows with Andy Murray (who recently bagged a seven figure sum from Rado for a watch sponsorship…because who hasn’t bought a watch and thought ‘gee, I wonder what brand fashion guru Andy Murray wears?’) or one of the Kardashians. Although, to be fair, Kim was ok when I ran into her on South Bank. While I fully respect that people who are desperate to check out a show would do it, hitting up PRs for show tickets just isn’t my thing, because it feels like asking to come to a party that you weren’t invited to. If a brand actually wanted me there (and a couple did invite me to stuff) because they want to know what I think? That’s a very different story.

Palmer//Harding S/S 13

Most of the shows I was invited to (I think I scored about 5 or 6 invites in total) actually came not through PRs, but through friends and fellow bloggers. This is why, and I can’t stress the importance of this enough, I truly believe that the greatest strength of the blogosphere (vom that I just used that word) lies in the fact that most of us do genuinely want to foster a community. If Vogue had a spare ticket to a show, would they give it to Cosmo? Probably not. But when Debs had a spare ticket to Clements Ribeiro, who was the first person she called? Well…probably not me, but I was close enough to the top of the list to get a call anyway. Yes, I’m occasionally pretty snarky on my blog, but in person I always try to be charming, kind and generous. Well, most of the time…

The thing that scared me most about London Fashion Week? How earnest I started getting about it. In my post on Fashion’s Night Out I wrote that the fashion world is a bubble, and I definitely got sucked into it this weekend. After getting a manicure on Thursday night, I started wondering whether I should repaint my nails when I went in for the day on Saturday. I found myself wondering about just how outrageous I could make my outfit before I’d be too scared to get the bus to Somerset House (to be fair, my bus does go through some rough bits in Newington). Of course, I still wanted to tweet sarcastic things like ‘BREAKING: No-one’s cured cancer yet, it is still just clothes and that. #LFW’, but another party of me started taking everything weirdly seriously. Which is so not like me.

So, why the slightly more conservative approach? Well, firstly, I’ve realised that fashion is probably THE thing that I most enjoy writing about. And there’s a very fine line between being the guy who’s hard to please and the guy you KNOW you’re not going to please. And I don’t want to cross that line. Secondly, although a lot of people are just there to make a scene and be there ‘for the sake of it’, you can tell that some are genuinely excited about creating things. Yes, most of them may have the same look in their eyes as naive wannabe starlets who go out to Hollywood because they think they’re going to ‘make it’, but the success stories of underdogs and outcasts like JW Anderson, Mary Katrantzou and Alexander McQueen gives them hope. The dominant feeling in the air throughout LFW was that sense of hope, excitement and ambition, and you can’t be too critical of that.

So, I’ll be back to LFW next year. If they’ll have me, that is…

7 comments

  1. Shona Wallace

    Fantastic post… I would have to say I feel the same. I worry about the fashion industry- there are so many people in it for the sake of being in “fashion dahhling” and to get freebies- it is ridiculous! I genuinely love it and my first fashion week was the same- felt so surreal but I loved every minute. I don’t feel I fit the “fashion” stereotype but that doesn’t stop me either :) x

  2. michael murray

    Excellent news, getting in!
    Rather taken with the modernist style bag. And the (ipod?) picture of the catwalk: a great angle. God, I remember graduate fashion shows in searing heat, mind-numbing noise and going on for hours. The highs and lows you go through and the struggling to the surface to recognise that hey, that actually is a great piece of design.

    So, huge congrats – and… what’s next? How’ll you top that?!

  3. Violetta

    Hey there! Funnily enough, yesterday I was looking at the flow of these electronic mannequin showcases which are now called fashion blogs, and feeling that something was missing. I wondered why nobody seems to have a fashion blog that also has some substance and (god forbid!) a sense of humor.

    And then, yesterday I read this post at xoJane where your blog was recommended, and I felt like I found the missing piece I was looking for! You have a good dose of wit and the rare ability to mock ad criticize things in a way that is both insightful and entertaining, without bitterness or weird negative auras. You have a great writing style, keep the posts coming!

    Tchüss!