London Fashion Week officially kicks off tomorrow, February 15 until February 19 and will feature more than 100 catwalk shows, presentation and events, including the highly anticipated debut catwalk show from fashion favourite Shrimps, as well as a first for Wales Bonner who is joining the womenswear schedule to present a co-ed show, and a move towards more sustainable practices from the British Fashion Council with its collaboration with the BBC and designer Amy Powney of Mother of Pearl.
The autumn/winter 2019 season also sees the return of Vivienne Westwood to the catwalk with a joint women’s and menswear show, as well as Victoria Beckham, who will being showing in London for the second season and Bethany Williams will be following in the footsteps of Richard Quinn to become the second recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design, which will be presented by the Duchess of Cornwall. The Woolmark Prize grand final will also take place featuring designers from the UK, Sweden, the US, Australia, Korea, Hong Kong, Japan and China.
London’s New Establishment of designers including Erdem, JW Anderson, Christopher Kane, Simone Rocha, Roksanda, Emilia Wickstead, Peter Pilotto and Mary Katrantzou continues to be a big draw, as do the new guard of emerging designers including Richard Quinn, British Emerging Talent Womenswear winner at The Fashion Awards 2018, Nabil Nayal, Rejina Pyo, Molly Goddard, and Matty Bovan.
This season also includes a number of new additions on-schedule including: 16Arlington, a glamorous womenswear label from Italian-born, London-based duo Marco and Kikka; Asai, the contemporary womenswear label from A Sai Ta, who launched his label with Fashion East in February 2017; and Symonds Pearmain, a fashion brand created by designer and artist Anthony Symonds and stylist Max Pearmain.
Shrimps is a firm favourite of fashion editors and influencers and for autumn/winter 2019 the go-to brand for colourful faux fur outerwear and beaded bags is making its catwalk debut this season after previously holding presentations.
Founded by London-based designer, Hannah Weiland in 2013, the label takes inspiration from the witticisms of modern art and a playful engagement with pattern and texture. Shrimps grew from faux fur outerwear, leading the conversation on cruelty free fashion, into a full ready-to-wear offering and is renowned for its cult beaded Antonia bag.
Shrimps hit the catwalk on February 19.
Grace Wales Bonner has made a name for herself with her menswear designs, but for autumn/winter 2019 the Central St Martins graduate is moving from London Fashion Week Men’s to join the womenswear schedule to present a co-ed show. The collection follows on from her first art exhibition at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery, ‘Time For New Dreams’ that explores magical resonances within black cultural and aesthetic practices, focusing on the shrine as a symbolic pathway for imagining different worlds and possibilities.
Bonner Wales showcases her autumn/winter 2019 on February 17.
Fashion Scout, the international showcase held during London Fashion Week, always has an eye for breaking fresh new talent and for autumn/winter 2019 it is championing London-based designer Tolu Coker, who was named the winner of its Merit Award. Coker, a graduate from Central St Martins, has been creating a lot of buzz for her unisex brand that centres around inclusivity, diversity and social responsibility, and this marks her debut at London Fashion Week.
On hearing she had won the Merit Award Tolu Coker said in a statement: “It came as somewhat a surprise and it’s also a challenge, preparing for a debut show because I’m a one-woman band. But I’ve been ready for a new collection since graduation and I have new stories to tell, so while it's nerve racking, I’m very excited!”
Tolu Coker makes LFW debut on February 15.
On Tuesday, February 19, emerging British fashion designer Bethany Williams will be the second winner of the Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design, following in the footsteps of Richard Quinn. The award, which recognises creativity in design while embedding sustainability and community practices within the business, will be presented to Williams by the Duchess of Cornwall.
The British Fashion Council said in a statement that Williams was chosen as she is a designer who “demonstrates both value to the community and strong sustainable practices,” as she champions social and environmental causes, as well as challenges perceptions in fashion with her work. In recent seasons she has partnered with charities supporting social change across women’s empowerment, homelessness, successful rehabilitation of offenders back into society, improving literacy amongst the most vulnerable in society and education programmes teaching skills and creating employment for those with the most limited opportunities and prospects.
Bethany Williams AW19 catwalk will take place on February 19.
The Woolmark Prize is returning to London Fashion Week for its 2019 grand final and will feature 12 designers including Nicholas Daley, Brandon Maxwell and I-Am-Chen, highlighting the versatility of merino wool within their capsule collections to an impressive judging panel led by Alber Elbaz.
The 12 Woolmark Prize finalists are: Nicholas Daley (menswear), Daniel W Fletcher (menswear), and Edward Crutchley (unisex) representing the UK; for the US there is Willy Chavarria (menswear), Brandon Maxwell (womenswear) and Colovos (womenswear); for Sweden there is Cmmn Swdn (menswear); Youser (menswear) from Korea; for Australia Albus Lumen (womenswear); I-Am-Chen (womenswear) representing Hong Kong; for Japan Yohei Ohno (womenswear); and for China, Angel Chen (unisex).
There will be Woolmark Prize awards granted to a menswear and a womenswear finalist, who will each win a further 200,000 Australian dollars, as well as mentorship from international experts to help propel their business to the next stage, a Woolmark license, and the opportunity for their winning collections to be stocked in International Woolmark partner retail stores including Harvey Nichols, Lane Crawford, Mytheresa.com and Hudson’s Bay Co.
In addition, one finalist will also be selected for the second edition of the Innovation Award, which recognises the most innovative and creative wool fabrications, process or development for merino wool. The winner of that prize will receive 100,000 Australian dollars.
The Woolmark Prize final takes place on February 16.
Once again this London Fashion Week, Anya Hindmarch will be hosting an immersive art installation. Last year it invited its fans to relax on the ‘Chubby Cloud’ billed as the world’s largest bean bag, and this February to celebrate its new Neeson collection it is hosting the ‘Weave Project’ featuring a giant and interactive neon-blue, hand-netted tube by artist collective Numen/For Use, where visitors can climb through to experience the installation from unexpected and surreal angles.
The Weave Project will take place in Brewer Street Car Park, London from February 16 – 19.
This season the British Fashion Council are putting a focus on a move towards more sustainable practices and their Positive Fashion initiative through a partnership with BBC Earth and designer Amy Powney of Mother of Pearl.
The collaboration will explore the impact fashion industry has on the planet through a talks series and evening event with industry leaders during London Fashion Week. The initiative aims to highlight the positive tangible opportunities for sustainable fashion choices by businesses and mindful consumer behaviour.
These talks are open to the public and will run on February 16 at the Store X, 180 Strand.
Main Image: courtesy of British Fashion Council by Kris Mitchell
Shrimps Image: by Danielle Wightman-Stone
Tolu Coker: courtesy of Fashion Scout
Bethany Williams Image: via Bethany Williams website by Amber Grace Dixon
Woolmark Prize: courtesy of Woolmark
Anya Hindmarch: via Anya Hindmarch website