London Fashion week 2015 – What you need to know about the industry

Cuts for Him meets Sarah Shotton (Creative director of Agent Provocateur)

It’s that time of the year when all eyes turn towards London as the most anticipated show in the fashion calendar begins in grand style. For at least a week and a bit, London is the centre of the world as far as I am concerned and there is no denying that we got it on lock when it comes to talent and creativity. SS16 season is here and London is buzzing with excitement as fashion houses blitz run ways with fantastic designs as buyers rush in for the kill to stock up for retailers. Londoners by nature are bold and confident when it comes to style whiles this City keeps churning out amazing designers. Did someone say London is the fashion capital of the world? Sorry New York, Milan, and Paris but London is where it has been happening and we still got it. Not that I would ever be biased or anything (cough cough).

Cuts for him with Angus Monro (world renown casting Director)

Anyway, sitting in a large ground floor room at the Conde Nast College of fashion & design with about 200 people listening to a panel of 6 industry insiders for an intimate talk was just what the doctor ordered. One of Briton’s supermodels Jade Parfitt introduced the industry heavy weights one after the other for the AmEx talk, a program presented by the credit card company American express. The panellists comprised of Liz Matthews (PR & Agent), Lisa Gregg (Vice President & General manager, Head of Intl Consumer Products & experiences at American express), Angus Munro (Casting agent), Sarah Shotton (Creative director of Agent Provocateur), Stavos Karelis (Founder & Buyer director of Machine-A). Stavos was midway talking about what it means to be a fashion buyer when Editorial director of Paper Magazine Mickey Boardman stormed in and lightened the otherwise serious mood in the room. Mickey’s jokes and banter were seriously funny as he spoke about everything from covering Kanye West to Kim Kardashian’s “break the internet” cover of his magazine.

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Cuts for him with the man behind the “Kim Kardashian break the internet” campaign for Paper Magazine, Mickey Boardman.

Angus Monro, the man who was responsible for managing superstars such as Naomi Campbell, Claudia Chiffer and Christy Tulington spoke about his career as a casting agent and what it takes to gain the respect of the industry. As a casting director, Angus has worked with brands such as Louis Vuitton, Hugo Boss, Karl Lagerfeld, Uniglo and Rick Owens.

The talk itself was set up to give audience an exclusive insight into the inner workings of the fashion industry. From casting the right models for campaigns to supporting up and coming talents within the fashion industry. So many things were discussed as Jade Parfitt effortlessly moderate what turned out to be a great conversational session.

Panellists from L-R: Iz Matthews, Lisa Gregg, Angus Monro, Sarah Shotton and Stavos Karelis with Jade Parfitt as the presenter (middle)

The Panellists were all engaging as they took turns in giving insights into the business of fashion. I have summarised the talk for you so here are some of the points made.

Internship:

Mickey Boardman kicked this topic off by making reference to current debate about interns not being paid. This is a contentious topic with lawsuits flying all over the place in recent years. Boardman’s views on this was that if you are passionate about a career path then you have to do what it takes to get on the ladder. He drew reference to his intern experiences during his studies which eventually lead to him being employed full time and now editorial director for Paper Magazine. His views on this seemed to have the backing of the rest of the panel members.

The use of celebrities in campaigns:

As a former manager for models himself, Angus Monro has a lot to say on this topic. His views were that modelling before the 00s was a real career where models will take to the cat walk countless times during fashion shows. Models were the faces for fashion houses compared to countless celebs being used to promote labels in recent years.

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Celebs starting their one brands:

Whiles the likes of Victoria Beckham have made it against all the stereotypes of celebs taking to designing, there are a lot of others who have made attempts to launch clothing lines but have not been successful. The general consensus was that many used fame to try to branch out whiles lacking the real passion of the craft which may have led to their brands failing or not taking off at all.

Fashion week’s best City

Like I said earlier in my first paragraph, no city beats London when it comes to producing exciting fashion talents and the panel were all in agreement on this. London truly produces lots and lots of emerging designers who are making a splash all over the world. Ashley Williams, Atea Oceanie, Rejina Pyo, Shrimps and many more were all lauded to be great emerging fashion industry new comers.

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Parenthood/Motherhood and the fashion industry:

Juggling between motherhood and a prominent career in the fashion industry is one seen impossible by many. This couldn’t be further away from the truth as Liz Matthews, Sarah Shenton and Jade Parfitt all inspired the audience through their individual experiences on how they have coped with raising children whiles pursuing careers in the fashion industry. “Even though it is hard work, it is totally possible to raise a family and have a successful career in fashion” said Sarah Shenton.

Bloggers and the fashion industry:

There has been rumours and whispers that LFW is trying to make it harder for bloggers to gain access to events. I am not sure how true this is but the one or two members of the panel raised concerns about blogs not being regulated. My personal view on this is that in as much as I completely understand the concerns that blogs are not being regulated, I think that conventional media ie established magazines, TV channels and even newspapers may be getting a bit jittery due to the massive rise of blogging which somehow takes a share of the market away from them. The idea that an individual with a couple of millions of followers can help influence buying patterns of their followers is real and causing a shift in the industry. To what end, we will have to wait and see.

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So there you have it people, the AmEx talk summarised.

Please share your thoughts on any of the points made above. If you happened to visit any of the LFW official sites over the weekend, let me know what your thought are by leaving a comment below.

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