DEDICATED followers of fashion have descended on London to cast an eye over the latest cutting-edge couture.
And these eye-catching creations are just some of the daring designs that marked the start of the London Fashion Week yesterday.
The high-profile gathering is the fashion Mecca for those who want to know how to dress to impress – and where the movers and shakers of the global fashion industry descend for five days.
At this year’s September event, a total of 58 catwalk shows will debut trends and looks for the 2014 spring and summer collections, and influence which items will be hanging in our wardrobes later next year.
The week opened with designer Bora Aksu’s show inspired by his homeland Turkey.
The queen of punk and grande dame of fashion, Vivienne Westwood, will be showcasing her latest designs over the weekend as well as Paul Smith, while Tom Ford and Stella McCartney will display collections next week.
The cream of Scottish designers, such as Christopher Kane, who won the New Establishment award at the British Fashion Awards 2011, and Edinburgh born designer, Holly Fulton, will also be showing off their latest creations.
The event is expected to attract more than £100 million in orders, according to the British Fashion Council (BFC), as buyers and bloggers descend on London to spot the latest trends.
However, this year organisers are hoping to change the “elite” perception that hangs over the twice-a-year extravaganza.
While the show is ultimately a trade event aimed at a few thousand buyers, editors, celebrities and fashion elite, organisers are hoping to reach out to a wider audience using social media.
British Fashion Council cheif executive Caroline Rush said the goal this year was to raise British fashion’s profile by making the event more accessible to consumers.
“Social media lets you share messages, get it out to broad audiences. It’s a great way to get an instant response, to find out what’s trending,” she said.
Accordingly, fashion news will be beamed to digital screens in London’s subway stations and many shows will be streamed live to fans this year, allowing them to view the latest catwalk previews from home or on their phones just like any front-row editor.
Despite a still-struggling global economy, British fashion brands are hoping to cash in on evidence of a rebound in the luxury sector as solid demand in Japan and the United States combines with recovery in Europe to offset China’s slowdown.
The British luxury sector is forecast to almost double in size over the next five years from £6.6 billion in 2012 to £12.2bn in 2017, according to a “Luxury Benchmark” study by Walpole and Ledbury, published in July.
Scotland’s “cashmere queen,” Belinda Dickson, who is currently in the process of setting up a “digital platform” to sell her products, said the importance of London Fashion Week for young designers should not be underestimated.
“This is one of the most prestigious events in the fashion calendar, where the big trend-setters flock,” she said.
“It’s a great platform for young designers where they get the chance for their collection to be seen by many influential people.
The entrepreneur, who trades under the name Belinda Robertson, was awarded an OBE for services to the textile industry and counts Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent and other top fashion houses among her clients.
She said that being part of that world was “an incredible buzz.”
“It’s an amazing time when you start off in the industry and the amount of exposure you get,” she added.