London Fashion Week 2011 has kicked off at Somerset House with assembled British and international buyers keen to see what the season has to bring.
Opening proceedings were Harold Tillman, chairman of the British Fashion Council, and Samantha Cameron in her new role as BFC Ambassador.
Once again London Fashion Week presents an innovative and diverse schedule with emerging talent showing side by side with iconic British designers and brands to an expected audience of over 5,000 buyers, TV and radio crews, fashion editors and writers.
London Fashion Week is the international showcase for one of the UK’s most important creative industries.
The BFC is delighted to be playing host to a record number of American buyers.
Barneys and Saks fifth Avenue, regular visitors to London Fashion Week, are being joined by Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus and boutiques such as Opening Ceremony and H. Lorenzo, are also attending for the very first time.
French and Italian interest is as keen as ever with Colette, Le Bon Marche and L’Eclaireur, La Rinascente, Biffi and Penelope, among others, all visiting London Fashion Week this February.
Susan Haird, acting chief executive of UK Trade and Industry commented: “London Fashion Week is an excellent platform for British designers to showcase to the international fashion community the creative, edgy brilliance of our multi-billion pound fashion industry, which is worth £21 billion to the UK economy and supports 1.31 million jobs.
“We look forward to partnering once again with the British Fashion Council to assist new and exciting designers make their mark in key international markets.”
Top international press include editors-in-chief from six editions of Vogue – Anna Wintour US Vogue, Australia’s Kirstie Clements, Daniela Falcao from Brazil, Cristiane Arp from German Vogue and Franca Sozzani of Vogue Italia as well as the newly appointed Emanuelle Alt of French Vogue.
France is also represented by Le Figaro, Le Monde, Grazia and L’Express while a strong American showing includes Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, Interview, Marie Claire, The New York Times, V and W Magazines.
Fashion publications and broadcasters from Scandinavia, Benelux, South America, Eastern Europe and the Far East are all sending internationally renowned stylists, fashion editors, writers and bloggers.
Such impressive international presence at London Fashion Week is in large part due to the BFC‘s Guest Programme supported by UK Trade & Investment.
The Guest Programme was set up in 2002 as part of a scheme to promote London Fashion Week internationally.
The focus in the early seasons was on the American, French and Japanese markets and was targeted at buyers but now the scheme is offered to leading members of press as well and guests come from a large number of territories.
Over the last eight years the programme, which forms part of the BFC’s strategy of business support for emerging British talent, has generated significant press coverage and substantial orders and has directly contributed to the success of many British fashion designers especially the recipients of the BFC’S fashion initiatives NEWGEN sponsored by Top Shop, Fashion Forward supported by Coutts & Co and Vogue’s Fashion Fund.
International press and buyers come to London for the creative energy and raw talent on show but the BFC’s Guest Programme scheme also enables London Fashion Week to compete with the brand-led markets of New York, Paris and Milan in terms of the quantity and quality of designers showing and the business and advertising revenue this subsequently generates.
Mayor Boris Johnson said: “London Fashion Week contributes around £100 million to London’s economy and I am pleased to be able to continue my support for this important industry.
“I am looking forward to working closely with the sector in order to attract more investment and retain our position as one of the most exciting creative capitals of the world.
Fashion is a powerful force stitched into the fabric of our city and London is home to some of the finest colleges in the world, producing astonishingly talented designers, whose influence permeates global fashion.
“Across the city are thrusting and gifted individuals, whose entrepreneurial spirit as well as creative flair underpin our reputation as one of the great design capitals and we should do all that we can to support them.”
The event runs until February 22nd, with a menswear day concluding LFW 2011 on Wednesday 23rd.
Also in Europe today, City.Mobi is celebrating the success of its new guide to London.
City.Mobi offers the most comprehensive mobile travel guides available, with over 800 cities in 200 countries listed. Each is developed by the City.Mobi team to combine into a single global travel directory.
London.Mobi is the latest in this illustrious line up, offering click to call functionality – which means no scribbling down telephone numbers.
Most entries are also linked to websites where users can quickly access more detailed information if needed.
Other key features include information on accommodation, restaurants, attractions, entertainment, nightlife, shopping, and transport.
City.Mobi guides include user reviews and traveller utilities such as a translation guide, currency converter, news and local weather guide.