BFC cancels London Fashion Week Men’s, combines genders for LFW in February

The British Fashion Council (BFC) on Thursday said its men’s fashion week in January would be canceled, instead merging genders for a February, digital first, fashion week.

The combined gender fashion week will be held from 19 to 23 February following the New York shows. Menswear designers are being actively encouraged to take part in the February event.

The decision to move the traditional menswear showcase from January to February in 2021 was made in light of the current environment surrounding Covid-19, challenges around the movement of goods, samples and people in the single market and customs union post Brexit, and following surveys and roundtables with designers, as well as conversations with sales showrooms regarding selling periods, the BFC said in a release.

No mention of sustainability

While the BFC did not mention the endless cycle of seasonal shows and the need for a more sustainable approach to fashion week, the merging of the men’s and women’s collections would lessen LFW’s carbon footprint by combining the calendar and using shared venues to limit travel.

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In terms of timing, the challenge will be for menswear buyers who normally buy mainline fashion in January in London, Paris and Milan, to have time and budget left for the end of February.

Commitment to menswear businesses

“The BFC is committed to supporting British menswear designer businesses to show and sell their collections and will work with them on finding the best solutions to enable them to share sales materials with international buyers ahead of the February shows,” it said in its statement.

Dylan Jones, BFC Menswear Chair said: “When we launched London Collections: Men in June 2012, which then became London Fashion Week Men’s, we were responding to an industry need and to the necessity to have a platform for our brilliant British menswear designers from emerging talent to Savile Row tailoring. A lot has changed since then, and this year’s pandemic made us all rethink the current system in place. We are confident that this move will help designers reach more people via the digital LFW platform, while still allowing them to do business as early as January without the deadline of a show.”

Caroline Rush, BFC Chief Executive commented: “As the fashion industry moves towards a more sustainable and responsible future in line with the newly formed Institute of Positive Fashion, our aim is to continue to redefine our fashion week model, embracing digital and technological innovation while offering ideas and solutions that will work for all designer businesses. Moving LFWM into LFW in February will continue to de-gender LFW, allow designers greater flexibility to consider what collection they show when and minimise travel requirements, taking us one step closer to a more sustainable future.”

The BFC said it will review its 2022 dates next year.

Photo: London Fashion Week designer Erdem SS19, Catwalkpictures

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