That London Fashion Week is still a force to be reckoned with is obvious. Playing host to some truly international creative talent, the London fashion scene remains as influential as ever from the catwalk to the high street.

With designers such as Sophia Kokosalaki, Katharine Hamnett, Sass & Bide and Jasper Conran showing some of their best collections to date, it proves that home-grown talent can still be nurtured in an international competitive climate.

While New York may be playing host to Mathew Williamson and Roland Mouret, and Paris to Alexander McQueen and Stella McCartney, London is by no means a b-list city on the international fashion map. It is true that much of our talent go abroad for design consultancies and placements in international fashion houses, but that is greatly due to the demand of the technical and creative skills of our designers. The international press seem to hover around mainland Europe and The States, sometimes forfeiting LFW, but it is London which sets the pace for new designers and a forward inspired fashion. Nowhere else on the planet can the diversity be found that is seen in the London shops and on the British streets. In Milan, for example, where the Italian greats nab up our fresh-out-of-St. Martins graduates, everybody seems to dress the same. There is a newness and an excitement missing, which we take for granted in London.

One of the problems of London competing on the same scale as New York, Paris and Milan, is that our well established houses are greatly outnumbered by those in other cities. The other fact remaining that those houses that do compete on similar level have decided to show abroad, i.e. Burberry, and in previous seasons Paul Smith. With Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger and Diane von Furstenberg dominating New York, YSL, Louis Vuitton and Givenchy claiming Paris, and the Italian masters showing in Milan, London does not operate on this same scale. More renowned for our technical expertise, like Savile Row, and our creative geniuses like Galliano and McQueen, the sheer number of a fashion house per se is limited, and therefore cannot attract a similar following.

Previously the pound kept many important buyers from visiting Britain with the cost of buying products being too high for competitive selling. With prices now stabilizing amongst a European market this is now being less of a problem. The euro inflation has created an equilibrium with wholesale prices of British brands.

There will always be a market for cutting edge fashion, the same as there will always be a city which other cities look up to. Whether or not Anna Wintour sits on the front row of Sophia's Kokosalaki's show is thankfully irrelevant. The inspiration lives on and judging by the international collections abroad, from Marc Jacobs to Cocoppani, British fashion is everywhere, even if sometimes solely in spirit.

Don-Alvin Adegeest


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