London Fashion Week (LFW) breathes new life onto the runway each season through experimental design and boundary-pushing presentation. Designers at LFW 2018 are reinforcing this reputation as they prioritise diversity among models and take a pioneering approach to casting.
Each fashion week has its hallmark: New York is home to some of the world’s most polished collections, while Milan is famed for its opulence. Parisian labels are traditionally feminine and the new cities to know – Berlin, Copenhagen and Moscow – are raising the bar when it comes to innovation.
London is loved for taking a confident, experimental approach to design and presentation. But now, its designers are breaking fashion week stereotypes by casting a diverse line-up of models.
An all-inclusive approach is one that Emma Quelch, London director at influential agency IMG Models, is noticing now more than ever before. “Each model cast in a show is walking because he or she expresses and represents the brand in human form, both visually and through personality,” says Quelch. It’s IMG who is responsible for Cara Delevingne and Joan Smalls and trusted with casting high-profile LFW shows like Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen. “This season we have seen an increasing number of requests for a diverse roster of models. Designers have been seeking models who break size, race, gender and age boundaries.”
It’s not a new discussion, but the increase in industry awareness could be thanks to major labels like Versace embracing the change. The Italian fashion house’s spring/summer 2018 runway presentation in Milan made headlines when it closed with 1990s supermodels Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, Helena Christensen, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy and Claudia Schiffer. “They are all over 40 and they looked incredible,” says Tamara Cincik, CEO of London-based consultancy Fashion Roundtable. “It felt authentic. I hope we can mix up the [model] messaging to maintain dreams and aspirations but dial down the clichés.”
Emerging British labels like Ashish and Teatum Jones have placed an emphasis on all-inclusive model casting since they were both launched. “Teatum Jones features standard models as well as character models of size, age, shape, race and body difference” says fashion commentator Caryn Franklin. “It’s highly influential, it inspires the necessary conversations around positive body image and inclusivity, and it presents a healthy and glamorous vision of what it is to be human.”
The push for diversity also crosses gender lines as increasing numbers of male models are walking in the womenswear-dominated September shows. “The streetwear revival has naturally brought men further into the fashion fold,” says Quelch. “Catwalks are expressing fashion in more gender fluid ways than before and it can only be a positive change. I hope we keep pushing these boundaries.”
One such designer pushing boundaries is London-based Julie Brøgger, who added male models to the line-up of her debut runway show at Copenhagen Fashion Week spring/summer 2019. “When you put womenswear on a man it’s unexpected and it makes people look at the clothes,” says Brøgger. “The industry still has a long way to go when it comes to diversity – the true sign of reaching the right place will be when there’s no such thing as representing a different skin colour, body type or gender. It shouldn’t be considered a statement.”
Both Tamara Cincik and Caryn Franklin will be talking about body diversity in the fashion industry at the Hox How To event on 12 September 2018.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.