Does Milan attract more young designers than London?
After two seasons of digital fashion presentations due to the coronavirus pandemic, the physical experience of attending catwalks – during fashion weeks in New York, London and Milan – is something to celebrate.
However, the return was not without a headache for organizers and designers, with fewer buyers and members of the press traveling due to constantly evolving quarantine rules, as well as cancellations and confirmations. of last minute. At London Fashion Week, for example, big names like Burberry and Christopher Kane were absent, although Erdem, Simone Rocha, Richard Quinn and Roksanda put on some captivating shows.
London designers are nothing but innovative and ingenious. Many have created a physical-digital hybrid with films and presentations, and have worked with other arts, notably dance. Halpern’s film and Roksanda’s live performance provided convincing performances with their vibrant and voluminous silk dresses swirling and puffed up in tandem with the movements of the dancers.
Rejina Pyo delighted her audience with divers from Team GB performing at the London Aquatic Center to showcase her swimwear collection, while young menswear designer SS Daley presented a small theatrical production with actors wearing his collection.
However, notable for their absence, young international designers usually choose London Fashion Week as a platform to launch their careers. The city’s vibrant creative scene has always been a huge draw for emerging talent with NEWGEN (a British Fashion Council initiative) partnering with TikTok, Discovery LAB and accompanying events such as Fashion Scout giving them a showcase, but the pandemic caused many to stay at home, others to host a digital event while some migrated to Milan and other fashion events.
Covid-19 has changed the world order, with emerging designers placing more emphasis on their local markets, for example the Chinese. Where they once enjoyed kudos at home for showcasing their collections and gaining recognition in the West, they are now focusing on Shanghai Fashion Week as a showcase, in part because of the quarantine restrictions imposed upon their return to China and, in part. as Chinese public relations. said one expert, because they consider that the market in Europe is shrinking. They see greater opportunities in their own country.
Where London has always been chosen as a springboard for launching a brand, Milan is now making its way into this role. Brexit has added to London’s challenges as the fashion capital, smaller brands are suffering. London designer Roland Mouret has been outspoken in his opinion of how the political scenario is failing in the fashion industry, which was crippled by closures, Brexit and the expiration of duty-free shopping early in the year. “We [as an industry] were treated as if we didn’t exist, ”he told the Financial Times Business of Luxury summit in May.
Freedom of movement within Europe has made it easier for emerging designers and small independent brands from across the continent to travel to Milan to showcase their collections and share the Fashion Week program with top brands. such as Prada, Versace and Dolce & Gabbana. , who were on the runway strong this season with alluring, body-conscious collections worn by a model casting list.
Camera Nazionale della Moda Italia (CNMI), which organizes Milan Fashion Week, has supported digital events and catwalks and fashion hubs such as Budapest Select, Black Lives Matter in Italian Fashion, Vogue Talents and Fashion Bridges, which brings together Italian graduates and young South Africans. designers.
Vogue Talents, created in 2009 as a screening project by Vogue Italy, generally provides a physical platform for a new generation of creatives around the world; this season it was mostly digital. Among the international labels featured in the Spotlight on Talents section of the platform this time were designers from Canada, China, France, Great Britain and Cynthia Merhej’s Lebanese label, Renaissance Renaissance (by the way, Merhej was half- 2021 LVMH Prize finalist and is a name to watch).
Always on the lookout for creators capable of revolutionizing the market, Sara Sozzani Maino, deputy director of Vogue Italy and head of Vogue Talents, declares: “We have a duty to continue to support the new generation in all its creative forms.
These opportunities come with collaborations such as Vogue Talents which is partnering with Dubai’s Al Futtaim Group, which, through its network of shopping centers, is launching a long-term initiative to support the next generation of designers.
The return of the catwalks looks like a renaissance for Milan, says Carlo Capasa, president of CNMI, who has set the organization’s ambitious goals such as helping to accelerate sustainable change in the fashion industry, boosting the multicultural evolution of Italy in terms of diversity and inclusion, “and promoting the talent of the best emerging designers on the national and international scene”.
CNMI partners and members meet these challenges “with enthusiasm and courage, delighted to have become [a] landmark on the world stage ”.
However, London is resisting and a few new names have chosen to present their collections at fashion week in the British capital, including Noon by Noor, the Bahraini label founded by cousins Shaikha Noor Al Khalifa and Shaikha Haya Al Khalifa.
They weren’t in London themselves, but creative consultant Michael Herz hosted an enchanting all-day picnic with models dressed in cool white embroidered cotton dresses in one of London’s coolest neighborhoods, Shoreditch.
“It might have made sense to show in New York, but we’re looking at the European market for the brand,” says Herz. “I’m based here, so it felt more natural to show in London.”
As London Fashion Week was limited to a runway show and a digital hybrid for this season, there was also no official showroom for designers to meet with buyers and therefore BFC accepted Milan’s invitation to take his London Show Rooms, a showcase of 11 young designers, at Milan Fashion Week as part of the White show.
“Much of BFC’s work is focused on strengthening UK fashion in the global economy – being able to support UK designer businesses and promote them internationally is at the heart of what we do. », Explains Caroline Rush, general manager of the BFC. “It’s important that we seize the opportunities that present themselves,” she said, viewing the opportunity as a chance for buyers to learn more about the creative energy that is currently emanating from London.
White founder Massimiliano Bizzi was also delighted to welcome BFC to Milan. “Their contribution is very valuable for the whole of Milan Fashion Week,” he says, hinting that young designers such as Ahluwahlia, Edward Crutchley and Completedworks are bringing a “London buzz” with them to Milan.
Some designers also felt they would see more buyers in Milan than in Paris or London. Alice Temperley, known for her bohemian 1930s to 1970s aesthetic, has had 10 consecutive dates in Milan with Temperley London’s European, Middle Eastern and Asian dealers.
Traditionally, major London designers have taken a showroom in Paris for shopping appointments, but with Paris Fashion Week closing the season, Temperley believes it is too late as most buyers’ budgets are engaged. “Everything takes place in Milan, it’s the place to be,” she says.
Updated: September 29, 2021, 11:01