london fashion week

A Buyer’s London Fashion Week Diary

The head of womenswear at Browns Fashion shares her experience at London Fashion Week.

By: Camille Freestone

Fashion week is about more than just the clothes. It’s a time for brands to create immersive presentations via location, music, and more that best showcase the collections. It’s a time for designers, editors, stylists, and buyers from across the globe to reconnect. And, of course, it’s a time to look at new fashion that designers have poured their heart and soul into. As new circumstances have forced the industry to eliminate most of those possibilities, no one was really sure what to expect from these hybrid weeks of physical and digital shows.

To get a better understanding of what is actually going on, we’re calling on the experts to walk us through their unusual experience. Head of womenswear at Browns Fashion Heather Gramston, along with her team, is attending some London shows in person (socially distanced and masked), but was reduced to a virtual medium for New York and will do the same for Milan and Paris. As a buyer, a key component of the buying process is to see the clothes in person, to feel the fabric for yourself and see its movement. Despite all that, designers still found ways to convey emotion, creativity, and inspiration through their fashion.

Can you walk us through what a day of fashion week looks like for you this season?

“Unlike any of the fashion weeks I’ve attended previously, this season the format was a blend of physical presentations where you get to see and meet the designers combined with the virtual shows where you get to see the collections digitally. At first you’re not used to it, however it doesn’t take long to adjust into the swing of things, and you soon can easily enjoy it.”

How much were you able to see in person, and how much did you have to do virtually?

“As we aren’t currently able to travel due to the current restrictions, New York Fashion Week this season was virtual for us, whereas London has been a mixture of both physical and digital formats.”

 

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Which collections really resonated with you?

Khaite, Chopova Lowena, and Maximilian at Fashion East.”

Which designers impressed you the most with unique presentations?

“We visited Molly Goddard in her studio, and she personally walked us through the collection and her inspiration and how it evolved during lockdown. Simone Rocha was also strong and beautifully presented in the Hauser & Wirth gallery, where you could walk around and view the collections up close on models. We’ve been huge admirers of both brands and were super excited to launch an exclusive collection with both British brands just in time for LFW.”

 

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What are your fashion week essentials? Are they different from those of previous seasons?

“This season I have really enjoyed dressing up to attend physical events as a change of pace from back-to-back calls.”

Is there anything that really surprised you this season?

“I’ve been impressed with the level of creativity that we’ve seen from designers despite the ongoing challenges of the pandemic.”

 

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What are the new challenges you are facing as a buyer this season?

“For us, not seeing collections in person has been a challenge, although the teams have adapted to buying virtually and seeing collections in London where possible.”

Any trends spotted that you think will be big this year?

“Dressing up! We are seeing designers embracing opulence in terms of color, volume, and embellishment.”

 

Photos: Courtesy of Browns Fashion

 

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