On Friday 19th August 2011, I was invited to see the work of six emerging designers showcase their collections at 1 Rivington Place, London, EC2A 3BA.
As much as I love seeing the new work of designers, learning about the new talents coming out of London, I am always a bit wary of emerging designer fashion shows. Reason being, I often see important mistakes that affect the overall lasting impression of the show or mistakes that harm the designer’s collection. I understand that with an emerging fashion show, this one included, that it is the designers that contribute toward the budget and funding of the show. And as well as dealing with their individual collections, they have to be heavily involved with other factors of the show which include- invitations, press, models and so on. But the thing is, when press are watching a show or looking at an image from a catwalk show- more often than not, they don’t have all this background prep information so they can sympathise with the designers and more importantly the fashion industry is hardly known for its compassionate and forgiving nature.
I have to admit that my experience at the beginning of the Labels show didn’t start so well for the following reasons-
1. Having arrived as Press, in the seating arrangements of the show, I did not see any clear indication for Press to sit. This is an important mistake because in fashion shows, press are supposed to have seats that can give them the best visual access to the show, as they are the ones responsible for writing and promoting the show afterwards. To do that, we need to be able to see the intrinsic details of the collection.
2. There were no press packs on the seats at the start of the show to give an indication of the order of the show, the designers collections and so on. Press packs were given at the end of the show, but again, it was a bit of a mission for me to get them as I had to do a lot of asking and running around. Many fashion editors and fashion journalists would not do this. Furthermore, upon receiving the Press booklet which gave details about each of the designer’s collections, I discovered that the collection details of one of the designers was missing. The Press bag did have that designer’s card, but this meant that Press had to do more work to get the collection details of the omitted designer.
3. As the Labels show did not have press packs at the start of the show, a guest speaker led the audience through each the collections. At this point, I have to say that fashion shows should really stay away from guest speakers/wannabe comedians at fashion shows. And if you absolutely must get one, get one that is educated. I couldn’t believe it when this particular guest speaker was introducing a designer’s collection, and after stumbling and bumbling the words uttered, ‘there are words here I can’t pronounce’. Or when he said, ‘the toilets are…actually, I don’t know but I’m sure you will find them!’ With an emerging designer show there is extra onus to prove yourself and to present a particular high quality (which you want to be associated with your brand) and professionalism in every aspect of the show from start to finish.
I was particularly irritated that the guest speaker could not describe the designer’s collection in a fluent and coherent manner because with no press packs given at the beginning of the show, there was extra onus on the guest speaker to educate guests (and press particularly) on the background, inspirations and fabrics in each collection.
4. Models are often the bane of an editorial fashion shoot and fashion show, especially when there is no models budget as such. Having said that, models can break or make a fashion show or shoot. The sad truth is, when it comes to a fashion show, no matter how great the hair, makeup, and the pieces the model is wearing are. If he/she cannot walk properly, is too short or has picked up cliché catwalk bad habits like – excessive jiggling, exaggerated posing at the end of the catwalk run, putting their hands perpetually on their waists-this can cause problems because it can be hard to get a picture that can be sent to established blogs and magazines. Also whilst watching the show, these defects harm the overall impression of each ensemble the model wears, and as a result the designer’s collection is not seeing in its best possible light.
Overall I have to say that The Labels fashion show and everyone who took part in it are to be highly commended for the efforts they put into the show. Throughout the event, I was torn between judging it as press and judging it as a guest/spectator. As the latter, I liked the innovative venue that was chosen, the idea of having a summer barbecue afterwards, the great tunes the DJ spun after the show and the fun people I met that night. But as Press, I feel that the above negative observations I wrote about, have to be mentioned because partying and eating aside, having asked one of the designers why she chose to take part in the Labels show she mentioned that it was to, ‘establish her brand and build her client base’. At the end of the day, the Labels fashion show was a business venture, so I hope that the organisers take my observations on board, as the better and more professional a show, the more likely its designers are likely to be promoted, creating a higher possibility of recognition and sales.