London fashion has come a long way in space of 25 years
Even allowing for artistic licence from London's mayor Boris Johnson yesterday during his opening speech for London Fashion Week (LFW) -- is fashion actually worth £21bn (€24bn) to the UK economy? -- it's plain to see how much the fashion industry has achieved in the British capital in the past 25 years.
When I began blagging my way into fashion shows -- about 22 years ago -- we had clothes made from bin bags; two-hour delays; sitting on benches in car parks and bus depots; freezing until 15 drunk models decided to work.
Why was it so ramshackle? Money, or lack thereof. Fashion wasn't taken seriously. Successive governments viewed designers as a mix of air--headed troublemakers and elitist snobs.
Fashion didn't sound like much of a vote-winner.
There was no single defining moment when things began going London's way. Three years ago, New York Fashion Week and Milan Fashion Week looked set to squeeze out London -- still the minnow financially -- altogether.
Burberry's decision two years ago to show in London rather than Milan gave LFW another huge fillip. The smaller designers, in turn, upped their game. Their shows are as slick as the best -- which still inspires me, given their minuscule budgets.
It's true that London still can't, on the whole, afford the top models but this doesn't matter as much as designers think, especially when there are global figures such as Keira Knightley, Kate Winslet, Emma Watson and Adele happy to wear Erdem, Mary Katrantzou, Christopher Jonathan Saunders, Osman Yousefzada or Burberry, all of whom will be highlights in the coming days. (©Daily Telegraph, London)