London Fashion Week February 2021 throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic: What to expect?

By Madihah Najeeb, BA Global Liberal Arts

Whilst we endure the pressures of a national lockdown through the Covid-19 pandemic, there is one occasion to look forward to if you’re a fashionista with an eye for this year’s latest clothing trends. London Fashion Week, which is to take place between 19 and 23 February 2021, will feature both womenswear and menswear collections with a genderless showcase in a digital formatted livestream on the LFW platform. People can access collections that would have made their debut on the runway or in a presentation, and can also watch interviews with designers, listen to podcasts, and gain access to e-commerce. 

It has come as a surprise to many that this global event is still taking place considering the UK’s dire situation against Covid-19. But on several platforms, the official LFW organisation have emphasised that they want to prove the industry’s ‘resilience, creativity and innovation’ in these difficult times (LFW Official Website). One of the key aims for this year’s LFW is to ‘de-gender fashion’ in order to be less reliant on gender norms. This is also a result of Men’s Fashion Week’s event being cancelled in January 2021 due to resurgence of Covid-19 and its new deadly strains, as well as issues surrounding the customs union post Brexit. As a result, the MFW will merge with the upcoming LFW which will also minimize travel requirements in order to support the sustainable stance the fashion industry is taking on.

This year’s London Fashion Week will be dramatically different in comparison to last year’s LFW, which occurred as normal and found itself immersed in controversies over sustainability and the importance of environmentally friendly fashion. At the time, Covid-19 was yet to be made wary of and the event took place at the Strand in Westminster, showcasing the signature London Fashion Week Catwalk and showrooms with the latest styles from high-end brands. Last year, LFW projected the concept of ‘Positive Fashion’ as a way of encouraging future business decisions to create positive changes. The event also took on a ‘City-Wide’ approach in order to unite London in an innovative festival to open up LFW to new audiences and communities. 

LFW faced various issues which were more pressing than Covid-19 in February 2020, such as the Extinction Rebellion (XR) protests which took place during London Fashion Week. Many protestors halted traffic towards the fashion trade show in order to voice their concerns on “false fashion” and the problematic impacts the fashion industry had on the environmental crisis at the time. Throughout the event, which took place from the 14th-18th of February, only between 9 and 13 cases of Covid-19 had been confirmed in the UK. As shown, this was not an issue significant enough to cancel the LFW event in February 2020. 

Fashion in general has still played a significant role in our lives despite these strenuous circumstances. I speak for the majority who have spent most of this pandemic wearing hoodies and joggers as most of us have nowhere to go. Despite this, our obsessions with online shopping have significantly increased and our need to constantly buy new clothes is yet to be resolved. But why is this the case? Could it be because buying clothes online gives us a sense of control? Currently, everything around us, from supermarket shopping to family visits, have been controlled by the government as safety measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19. On top of that, buying clothes online provides a comfort of normality that existed before Covid-19 dominated our daily lives. As well as dwelling on the past, buying clothes online provides us with a sense of hope that one day we will live in a Covid-free society. 

“With all this time in our hands, the various lockdowns have allowed us to take fashion into our own hands and be our own stylists. Although LFW will be held virtually, this does not impact the influential factor of the upcoming trends that will dominate the 2021 fashion industry.”

With all this time in our hands, the various lockdowns have allowed us to take fashion into our own hands and become our own stylists. Although LFW will be held virtually, this does not impact the influential factor of the upcoming trends that will dominate the 2021 fashion landscape. The day is yet to come when we shall strut in our new clothes that would have been piling up and hidden in our wardrobes, waiting for their debut in front of the critical eyes of society and the fashion industry. 

Photo Caption: Burberry SS21 (Credit: Drapers).

Post Author: The SOAS Spirit

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