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Virtual catwalk: London Fashion Week goes online due to lockdown

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Designer: Paul Costelloe says he will not be showcasing his clothes on the digital platform in June

Designer: Paul Costelloe says he will not be showcasing his clothes on the digital platform in June

Designer: Paul Costelloe says he will not be showcasing his clothes on the digital platform in June

London Fashion Week has moved its style conversation to a gender-neutral, digital platform in June as the Covid-19 lockdown endures.

The British Fashion Council (BFC) yesterday announced that the June event - normally limited to menswear only - will now include womenswear, and instead of back-to-back physical catwalk shows, it will be a world of virtual showrooms to which the public will now have access.

For the next 12 months, all London Fashion Weeks will merge womenswear and menswear into one gender-neutral platform.

Caroline Rush, chief executive of the BFC, said that by "creating a cultural fashion week platform, we are adapting digital innovation to best fit our needs today and something to build on as a global showcase for the future".

For those designers who have collections ready, they will share them online.

Digital lookbooks, videos, Q&As, podcasts and direct-to-consumer e-tail will roll out from June 12.

It's a case of west looking east as fashion weeks in Russia and Shanghai have both been run entirely online.

Irish designer Paul Costelloe, who first showed at London Fashion Week in the early 1980s, said while he had his sketches and fabrics for SS21, nothing was yet made and he would not be showing womenswear on the digital platform in June.

He said the BFC had confirmed that brands can show at either fashion week, June or September.

"They've said they were not forcing brands to change their collections at all but were simply making the calendar more flexible," said Costelloe.

Wexford designer Richard Malone welcomed the move to take LFW co-ed.

Katie Ann McGuigan, who is making hospital scrubs for the NHS back in her native Newry, said: "We are looking at maybe doing smaller collections and thinking of alternative ways, if September gets interrupted, on how to show our collection in a more digital format."

Irish Independent