Are London’s hot underdog designers strong enough to quiet the storm that nearly upended plans for London’s Fashion Week? 

While fashion icons from Anna Wintour to FKA Twigs made appearances at London Fashion Week, attending the shows of Richard Quinn, Simone Rocha, among others, many VIPs, even headline designers like Burberry or Vivienne Westwood, decided to forgo this week – perhaps to prepare for Milan and Paris.

While their absence might have created concern, London Fashion Week quelled any worry by pivoting and shifting focus to the up-and-comers featured in the London Newgen. 

Buzzy new talent, endorsed by Dua Lipa, Rihanna, even Victoria Beckham, included Nensi Djoka, Conner Ives and Supriya Lele. They, along with Yuhan Wang and Eftychia, didn’t disappoint their loyal followers. The week gathered new devotees from WWD, Dazed, and I-D who commended the power of affinity these young talents curated around their collections at no consolation of craftsmanship. 

Newgen won the attention of the BFC through their innovative takes on flattering silhouettes for any figure, gender fluid garments, and conscious use of resources. Though can Djoka’s capitalisation upon ‘the male gaze,’ Ives’s upcycled Americana identity, even Yuhan Wang’s kitten-clad catwalk warrant the trip to this fashion capital with British ‘heritage’ amiss?

As a London-based expat just starting in fashion, I love how London has earned its place among other fashion destinations. And while there was no shortage of style, London Fashion Week fell a little short in allowing its participants to maximise its potential. The lack of networking opportunities, fewer events featuring big names, limited space, and other concerns surrounding Covid took some sheen off of the spectacle. 

I look forward to next season’s London Fashion Week and hope that it continues to make bold choices in showcasing emerging talent but also emphasise what we love most: the aura of how our work makes others feel. For many designers, press, and buyers alike, the last four days represents a rare opportunity to step out of the manic studios, meeting rooms, and hours spent behind the computer and worship the final product. Yet, with 800% exposure of London designers amid fashion week from the editor to the TikToker, what can the system do to leverage socially endorsed affinities into change bigger than a collection? The system dictates the production and purchase power for a better future, yet more can be done when sentiments are reflected upon as one.

With the eye candy in front of us, I hope next season there are more chances to include the next generation in collaborative, visionary discussions. Seeing the system through each other’s lens in order to build something continuously better, more accountability lies in the hands lucky enough to take a front row seat…

By Isabel Froemming

Isabel Froemming is a contributing fashion sustainability writer, model, and activist based in London. Her research focuses on transparent supply chains and gender equity in Indonesia. Isabel ran communications for Copenhagen Fashion Week for SS21 and prior to that acted as an editorial associate at sustainable e-tailer Rêve en Vert.