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Finally, fashion week is back. Throughout the last 18 “unprecedented” months that have paused and pivoted fashion’s fantasies and realities, the frow has moved to the front room as the physical switched to the digital, before cautiously turning to “phygital” and leaving us wondering what could possibly follow. At this confused time when “phygital” is written without (enough) regret and invites for digital experiences are posted instead of emailed, the return of catwalk shows feels as comforting as this season’s Miu Miu crochet wool helmet with face mask.
From bedroom-based design daydreamers to billions-in-the-bank conglomerates, the effects of Covid-19 have forced a long-overdue root-and-branch rethink of how fashion operates. While this period of forced adoption, forced experimentation, and forced technological acceleration has hinted at the fashion events of tomorrow’s world, we’re some time away from an AR cloud metaverse. The frequently asked question around fashion week alternatives has been: can a digital equivalent, watched from your sofa, ever be the same? The answer – now and forever – is no. Why should it be the same? Why would we even want it to be the same? It can, and should, be different. For the foreseeable future at least, fashion week will continue to straddle time and opportunity with one Tabi-toed foot in the familiar world and the other in tech-powered possibility. For now, let’s just celebrate the return of the fashion week we’ve missed. The novelty of watching shows through our screens as we relax at home instead of watching shows through our screens as we sit on cramped, uncomfortable chairs has worn off. Digital shows can’t yet truly capture the creativity, collaboration, connections, and chaos so as we see a return to physical shows, we’re sure our favourite brands will turn the dial.
We’ve missed the Fashion. We’ve missed the clothes. We’ve missed dressing up and travelling from show to show and city to city. We’ve missed the booming soundtracks that leave Larry David plugging his ears. We’ve missed going backstage to meet the designers and their teams, and to touch the fashions. We’ve missed the banter from the photographer pit. We’ve missed the whispered gossip. We’ve missed the FOMO of shows or parties we couldn’t make it to. We’ve missed complaining about queues, delays, traffic, and everything else. We’ve missed the late nights, early starts, and long days. We’ve missed the Fashion and the live spectacle. As fabulously flawed fashion week undoubtedly is, fashion week is – and forever will be – fabulous when it brings together the creative communities that shape it. We’ve socially-distanced, now it’s time to safely come together once again.
While Kiko Kostadinov unofficially opened LFW SS22 with an off-schedule show earlier this week, there are over 80 digital activations and 79 further physical activations ranging from catwalk shows to presentations, appointments and events across the city throughout this upcoming long weekend. “We are delighted to welcome London Fashion Week back in a physical format this season and are excited to celebrate the city for everything it has to offer through our City-Wide Celebration,” Caroline Rush, CEO British Fashion Council, explained in a statement. As we organise our invites and plan our outfit changes, LN-CC invites Athens-born, London-based culture writer and model Nassia Matsa to test out a few looks against a backdrop of Soho street style. Unleash the majesty, madness and memes.