- Title: UNITED KINGDOM: London Fashion Week celebrates its 25th anniversary
- Date: 21st February 2009
- Summary: CHANGING ROOM FOR FASHION SHOW AND DESIGNER ARABELLA POLLEN TALKING TO MODELS (SOUNDBITE) (English) DESIGNER ARABELLA POLLEN, SAYING: "We chased it for two years, we've always taken our collections to America, we've always done shows there, we've always gone to Europe and we've met with success but not enthusiasm for the first year and a half and now suddenly they're coming at us."
- Embargoed: 8th March 2009 12:00
- Location: United Kingdom
- Country: United Kingdom
- Topics: Fashion
- Reuters ID: LVA3TAJK3YUCAAX3UXMKFY5QQMQK
- Story Text: Vivienne Westwood, John Galliano, Alexander McQueen -- just a British designers who have rewritten fashion's rulebook over the last half century. All of them had their start in London and this year marks the 25th anniversary of the capital's fashion week.
What started out as a small gathering of dedicated fashion designers and trend makers in a car park in west London has grown into a 20 million (GB) pound (28 million USD) event, which takes place twice a year, into the British capital's economy. In terms of direct spend, it generates orders in the region of 100 million GBP (143.3 million USD).
Looking back to the first catwalk in October 1984, the designs may not look very different today. The current love of everything Eighties was seemingly big on the catwalks of the most recent New York Fashion Week from designers like Marc Jacobs and Miss Sixty.
The buyers in 1984 seemed as enthusiastic for the young, cutting-edge designs still promininent in 2009.
"Great, terrific, absolutely delighted with what I've seen so far," said one buyer.
"After everything I saw in Milan and New York, I found this the most exciting so far," said another.
A female U.S. buyer said: "The only feeling of seriously new fashion seems to be coming from here."
Betty Jackson was amongst the handful of designers which showcased that first London Fashion Week.
"It was really sort of rough and ready but, you sort of had to sort everything out I mean Katherine Hamnett I remembered complained bitterly that we were showing in a car park and she was right but there wasn't any where else," she told Reuters Television in a recent interview.
Reknown for having young designers suddenly burst onto the itnernational fashion stage, London has produced daring, edgy, in-your-face designs for which it has been known for.
Matthew Williamson was one of them. Although he started in the British capital and currently shows in New York, he said he would be bringing his shows back to London.
"Well, it's my home land so its my favourite city to show in and I hope to show back here one day, I show in new york now so maybe one day I'll come back and show here, I love it here," said the designer.
Paul Smith is the most successful British designer with an annual turnover of 330 million (GB) pounds (470 million USD). His personal fortune is worth an estimated 180 million GBP (258 million USD).
"I think the great thing about 25 years of fashion week is that were still here, were still positive, were still important, we have still as I said earlier weve still got this massive creativity, coming out of london. Yes its sad sometimes that the designers cant survive in there own light and have there own businesses, and work at it, but you know its just the fact that we create them and that they maybe go and work for a company from a different country, it's still fine," he said.
Harold Tillman, the current chairman of the British Fashion Council said what London was known for when it's started has echoes of today.
"What we produce in London are designers who are fearless, create newness, cutting-edge designs which can be a little shocking at times but definitely followed in the rest of the world."
London Fashion WeekWednesday (February 25).
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