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London Fashion Week Turns Digital, Dual Gender in June

London Fashion Week is getting a new look.

The COVID-19 crisis has shaken up the fashion industry, forcing trade shows and events to turn digital and leaders to look for ways to stay relevant to a society stuck in isolation.

In response to current events, the British Fashion Council (BFC) announced that London Fashion Week will merge women’s wear and men’s wear for the next 12 months. The next dual-gender event will take place June 12-14—the previously scheduled dates for the men’s show.

The new digital-only event will appeal to both trade and consumer audiences, and shine a spotlight on what designers are able to create in isolation.

“Many of our businesses have always embraced London Fashion Week as a platform for not just fashion but for its influence on society, identity and culture,” said Caroline Rush CBE, BFC chief executive. “The current pandemic is leading us all to reflect more poignantly on the society we live in and how we want to live our lives and build businesses when we get through this. The other side of this crisis, we hope will be about sustainability, creativity and product that you value, respect, cherish.”

This concept is one that’s been considered by a number of fashion leaders. As the industry uses the global pause to reflect on the future of fashion, some have suggested a new fashion show model that’s more inclusive, both in design and audience.

In a Vogue Global Conversation last week, Balenciaga CEO Cedric Charbit and Balmain creative director Olivier Rousteing both agreed that digital fashion shows can cast a wider net and open a whole new realm of opportunities for creativity.

The event will run on the London Fashion Week website, where designers, creatives, artists and brand partners will be able to share exclusive multimedia content including interviews, podcasts, webinars and virtual showrooms. Brands will also have the opportunity to generate sales, with consumers able to purchase from existing collections and retailers able to order for the following season.

“We hope that as well as personal perspectives on this difficult time, there will be inspiration in bucketloads,” said Rush. “It is what British fashion is known for.”