As she reluctantly hunkers down for another housebound, digital front row seat at LFW, Laura Craik contemplates what’s next for her wardrobe, her shopping habits and the fashion industry itself
While no fashion editor trotted from show to show dressed in head-to-toe Look 5 from Christopher Kane, London Fashion Week was still a time to dress like the best version of yourself. At the very least, I’d get my roots done. Iron my shirt. Maybe put on a low heel. And then I’d moan about being stuck in heavy traffic as I traversed the city in a chauffeured car, before moaning about the tiny bench I’d been squeezed on to ahead of the next show starting.
Happy days. So much happier than the digital incarnation of London Fashion Week, which, thanks to Covid-19, was established last September and is where we find ourselves again this month. The only plus points about flipping open a laptop in my sweatpants to watch the Burberry show from the comfort of my own sofa is that it’s less time consuming and better for the environment. Two positives, for sure, but when it comes to appraising the state of the fashion industry in 2021, the negatives far outweigh them.
Worldwide, industry revenues have been decimated. After 4 per cent growth in 2019, profit is estimated to be down by 93 per cent year on year in 2020, according to a report by McKinsey. In January, a report by the UK’s Centre for Retail Research found that 2020 was the worst year for high-street job losses in more than 25 years, as the pandemic drove us to shop online. An estimated 320 shops closed every week, with 180,000 retail jobs lost.
“Hopefully [fashion] will rise, phoenix-like from the ashes in Ancuta Sarca heels (she’s one to watch) and a Molly Goddard ball gown”
“the internet has democratised the buying process, allowing anyone anywhere to buy whatever is available at the click of a mouse”
“When this is all over, I’m going all-out. I want sparkles, glitter, make-up and dancing shoes… and that’s just the men”
“Times have never been tougher, but out of the worst of times, the best of creativity grows”