london fashion week

JUNE 2024


Event Review
























































article by Aryana Arian










photo:

ICA Exhibition - Lowri Cooper - LFW Press 

Running down the sandy path of The Mall, I awaited the arrival of my colleague Francesca, while passing by the massive red, white, and blue flags, and pondering over the significance and history of London, the capital and centre of the United Kingdom.


While on the steps beside the ICA, Institute of Contemporary Arts, where the morning London Fashion Week (@londonfashionweek) events were being hosted, I watched the tourists taking breaks with families taking pictures of the ceremonial empty road that at moments in history have been walked by the greatest figures in UK history. It was the perfect location to start this season of London Fashion Week since it was a tribute to the diversity and richness of British fashion, spotlighting the remarkable contributions of Black, South Asian, and Queer communities. Communities who have been historically forgotten, diminished, undermined, and purposefully not shown by the spotlight. With a keen focus on the evolution of menswear, from the classic sophistication of Savile Row to the incredible curations of spaces with upcoming and diverse designers from various UK-based backgrounds and communities, this event celebrated heritage and innovation. Hosted by @1664blanc taking place, LFW took place from Friday 7th to Sunday 9th June 2024 and aimed to ignite a cultural moment in London, celebrating its 40th anniversary with a bold new format.


This season provided a platform for diverse British designers and brands, focusing on the depth and breadth of the UK’s menswear businesses. The event spotlighted London’s position as a world-leading cultural capital and amplified its vibrant creative community.

photo below:

BFC Dinner x @noorunisa-65 - LFW Press 

As we entered the space we were embraced by the exhibitions on display of the works of incredible designers from queer, south Asian and black communities in London. Michelle Adepoju, a designer whose piece from her brand KÍLÈNTÁR @kilentar caught my eye due to its array of symbolism. I spoke to her about the symbols of black braided hair within her piece, the textured fabric, beige and earthy colour and silhouette, her dress exemplified itself in the space, carrying within its heritage and culture and expressing it in a contemporary London-esque way. The space itself curated by @claraamfo (@claraamfo) included powerful and gorgeous photography by @bare_clips @bare_clips. Other designers showcased in the space were @abigailajobi @labrumlondon @denzilpatrick.

As we moved to see the works upstairs, we stumbled upon outfits expressing colour, action, movement and culture by the attendees of the event. It was a proud moment for me, as a person of colour, to see this London Fashion Week celebrating a great part of UK culture that seems to have been waiting to be celebrated.

Upstairs, we were struck with the beautiful designer pieces of CARLOTA BARRERA @carlotabarrera and ALBARELLA @mr.albarella.

photo:

ICA Exhibition - Lowri Cooper - LFW Press

photo: perediza

Curator Kai @kai_isaiah_jamal described to me the meaning of their curation and emphasized the importance of representing the queer community authentically, highlighting that often, the community is misrepresented by those who are not part of it. They aimed to ensure that the representation was genuine and respectful. They discussed the intentionality behind creating the space, ensuring that it conveyed a narrative and gave a voice to the designers. The soundscape played a crucial role in this, featuring the designers talking about their work, which provided context and understanding for visitors, especially those not from the community. This approach allowed the voices of the creators to be heard alongside the physical display of their garments, enriching the overall experience.


They spoke about the afternoon tea event as well which they organized for LFW which was designed to break traditional, gendered norms associated with high tea, which has historically been a space for cis women.

photo below:

Afternoon T - Jelly Luise 7 JUN 2024-17 -

LFW Press

Kai created a space exclusively for trans people to gather, relax, and enjoy each other's company without the pressure of work, fostering a sense of belonging and ease.

photos:

Afternoon T - Jelly Luise 7 JUN 2024-17 -

LFW Press

Designer @carlotabarrera whose work was curated by Kai shared with us her experience as a queer woman who started with designing menswear and expanded beyond that, bringing in her identity and queerness into her pieces as well as her Spanish heritage. She guided us through her journey in designing menswear, evolving her creations to explore the queer female gaze, while also celebrating Spanish culture and queer history.















On Day 2 of LFW, we were welcomed into her Pop up where we explored some pieces from her previous collection. Elegant silhouettes of basics that incorporated an openness in a structure that did not disrupt the pieces but rather expressed the bodies within them further, Carlota can with her designs expand the human form and drive us between an exploration of masculinity and femineity in her pieces.

photo:

LFW Press

photos below:

LFW Press

photo:

ICA Exhibition - Lowri Cooper - LFW Press

As Francesca and I turned down the stairs to take a break, we stumbled upon another designer whose work intrigued us @mr.albarella. ALBARELLA's designs were beautifully curated against a window of green-leafed trees of The Mall embracing the glass while the sun shone through the piece and allowed it to breathe within the space. It was also constrained and stood more as a concept rather than a thing that is worn as said by the designer himself when describing the curator Kai’s intentions when curating the space. Albarella speaks about his gay identity in Italy and the struggles that came with that in a country that celebrates masculinity traditionally and conservatively:



“In Italy, you can’t be open about your identity and I’m so happy to be here in London, showcasing this. I believe in destroying the traditions of toxic masculinity to form a new for masculinity through my designs.”

After the enlightening conversations with some of the designers, we got some drinks at the 1664 bar and headed up again to the last room, but certainly not the least.

photo below: perediza

photo: LFW Press

This room spoke to me in a language of love, culture, expression and atmosphere. I could feel the care, the expressions, the embodiment of heritage between the designs, the photography and the details in curation.

Simran (@simran), a south-Asian brand consultant and creative, as the curator spoke to us about her vision for curating the space:

As she looked in awe around the celebration of her culture and expressed her excitement about curating the space, she emphasized the room's exploration of the British South Asian contribution to fashion, particularly focusing on fabric and textiles. Her main point was the global exploitation of South Asian craftsmanship by luxury houses, which often fails to receive proper recognition or visibility. 

Simran highlighted the inclusion of young British South Asian designers, noting the variety and innovation in their use of fabrics. Each designer interacts with the textiles uniquely. 


The designers showcased were:

@hadiyahahussain

@rahemurrahman

@harri_ks

@lahos.world

@smrdays

@ahluwalia

@misho_designs

@rokeratelier

photo: perediza

She then discussed the lack of conversation aroaund the origins of patterns and textiles used by luxury brands, emphasizing that these elements are often removed from their cultural context. Through her curation and the accompanying photography by Tammy (@tamiaftab), she aimed to challenge this by showcasing the cultural heritage and context without overt explanation, allowing the works to speak for themselves. Simran concluded by underscoring the importance of presenting her work authentically, without altering its essence to fit external expectations. She highlighted the value of simply being present as a South Asian Punjabi curator, allowing the cultural richness and significance to be inherent in the display.

And what she said spoke through the curation itself, the fabrics and their hues, tones, and textures reflecting the sunlight captured by the exquisite long windows in the ICA space. The soft, identity-rich, and human-like photography of Tammy embraced the designs, creating an emotional effect on the viewer. This symbolized South Asian culture in a contemporary, London-centric, and aesthetically pleasing way that encompassed both tradition and modernity, seamlessly blending heritage with the innovative spirit of British fashion.

photo below:

Sound and Harmony Genevieve Leah - LFW Press

After taking a lunch break and discussing the schedule, I went back to enjoy the “Sound & Harmony” event. An event delving into the contributions of Black culture across all aspects of British creative industries, with self-love as the central theme. The occasion featured an exclusive live performance by Debbie Ehirim, known as ‘Debbie’ @debbie_ and a DJ set by @jordss.dj who I had the pleasure of speaking to personally before the performance. Debbie, a beautiful and talented singer, with soulful R&B music, her voice in conjunction with the keys spun the audience.

photos:

Sound and Harmony Genevieve Leah - LFW Press

On Day 2, I had the pleasure of attending a significant panel on Diversity organized through the series “Explorations in Blue” hosted by Vogue Business journalist @malihashoaib. The conversation included discussing the aspects of diversity and inclusion in the industry with @Simran, @i__d host and presenter @Lea.Ogunlami, and multi-disciplinary artist @hausofdarkwah.

photo:

blanc x lfw june panel talk_LILY CRAIGEN

- LFW Press

Simran expressed her pride in showcasing her culture through a carefully curated exhibition. This event brought her friends' work into the spotlight, creating a space where cultural identity was naturally celebrated. Simran, one of the few South Asians in the industry early in her career, shared the immense pressure she felt to represent her entire community. Brands often pigeonholed her, seeing her as a symbol rather than an individual. Her experiences underscored that diversity is not just about black, white, and Asian representation but spans a broader spectrum, highlighting the need for more inclusive practices.


Lea Ogunlami, a black woman in the media, revealed her initial struggle to find role models. This lack of representation illustrated the industry's broader shortcomings. She pointed out the pervasive classism and questioned how the industry could make POC feel genuinely comfortable. Lea recounted a distressing incident where a black model was ridiculed for her natural hair by a stylist, starkly showcasing the industry's ongoing challenges with inclusivity. She emphasized that while the fashion industry is inherently capitalistic, small changes—like interviewing diverse models and respecting their unique attributes—can create safer, more inclusive spaces. For Lea, authenticity means presenting the real, sometimes messy, human stories, not just a polished facade.

photo:

blanc x lfw june panel talk_LILY CRAIGEN

- LFW Press

Darkwah, proudly Ghanaian, shared their journey of navigating the industry without a specific role model. They had to constantly manage others' perceptions while striving to be true to themselves. Darkwah critiqued superficial diversity efforts, questioning the genuine intent behind such initiatives. They highlighted that the pressure to be "palatable" often forces individuals to compromise their true identities. Darkwah proposed radical changes, such as passing down leases to LGBTQ communities to build a legacy beyond traditional family structures. They argued that true diversity involves protecting and supporting marginalized individuals at all levels, including corporate settings.

The host of the panel shared an emotional response to Simran Randhawa's exhibition, appreciating the authentic cultural representation. She remarked on how the industry tends to accept only certain forms of diversity, often fitting into a specific mould that excludes many.

photo:

blanc x lfw june panel talk_LILY CRAIGEN

- LFW Press

The discussions at the LFW diversity panel underscored the pressing need for the fashion industry to move beyond superficial diversity measures. The panellists called for systemic changes to foster a genuinely inclusive and authentic environment. This call to action aims to pave the way for a fashion industry where all individuals, regardless of their background, can feel seen, respected, and valued.

photo below:

Maharishi 30th Eeva Rinne BFC - LFW Press

After the panel, I headed my way to SoHo where I was welcomed to the 30th anniversary of Maharishi (@maharishi) with a private viewing of emblematic archival pieces and a preview of the forthcoming Spring Summer 2025 collection. Adopted by the aura of Maharishi, there I was surrounded by art, archives, history, sewing, construction, deconstruction, identity, culture, and London. Maharishi is all of these. Their pieces speak, they don’t whisper, they show, and they stand like art, conceptually but also physically. They are functional, military, and identity all in one.



I had the chance to interview the designer himself Hardy Blechman on the history of the brand, how it came to be and its significance.

photos (small below): perediza

photo (large below): LFW Press

photo:

Maharishi 30th Eeva Rinne BFC - LFW Press

Hardy shared the rich history of his family's tailoring legacy, which spans several generations and continents. His ancestors initially aimed for America but ended up in South America and eventually Vietnam. During the Vietnam War, his grandfather established a tailor shop specializing in camouflage patterns, rank badges, embroidered patches, and souvenir jackets for soldiers. This legacy continued with Hardy's father marrying a Japanese woman from a family skilled in fabric making and embroidery, leading to the formation of their company in the 1960s.

Hardy was born in London, where his father had moved, and he now runs a third-generation tailor shop in England. He emphasized the importance of having his shop and studio in the city for convenience and efficient pattern-making and sampling. The shop houses both historic and contemporary patches and artworks, some dating back to the 1960s, reflecting his family's extensive history in textile craftsmanship. Hardy also mentioned acquiring military surplus patches left behind after the Vietnam War, preserving them as part of his brand's heritage.

photo above and small:

Maharishi 30th Eeva Rinne BFC - LFW Press

photo above:

Maharishi 30th Eeva Rinne BFC - LFW Press

Hardy's unwavering commitment to honouring his family's legacy through the Maharishi brand profoundly moved me. His ability to seamlessly blend historical elements with contemporary designs offers a poignant reflection on the role of designers in channelling not only their personal identities but also the essence of their communities, heritage, and culture.

photo above:

Savile Row June 24 Eeva Rinne BFC - LFW Press

Finally, I want to end this article with the answer Caroline Rush, the Chief Executive of the British Fashion Council gave me when I asked her what the most inspiring moment was from this LFW and what she has learned. She responded by saying seeing the curators and the way they represented their communities was the most inspiring and special moment. She said even though London is such a multicultural city we don’t take the time to step in other people’s shoes and with this fashion week, we were able to do so.

photo below:

Harri June 24 FoH Eeva Rinne BFC

- LFW Press

photo:

2024_06_8_LFW_AW24_UEL_JESS M_BOH_

- LFW Press

Fashion, history, and culture intertwine like the intricate threads of a fabric, each telling a story that transcends mere aesthetics. Understanding the rich tapestry behind this veil has enlightened my perception of clothing, imbuing each piece of fabric with deeper meaning and significance. It’s a powerful reminder that what we wear is not just about fashion but a celebration of identity, history, and cultural heritage.

photos: LFW Press: Saville Row June,

QASIMI AW 24

photos above: LFW Press: (small): QASIMI A24

(large): UEL A24

For Perediza’s welcome to Fashion Week, this event was not only special but essential, aligning perfectly with the dialogues we engage in, promote, and advocate for.


The enriching exchange of discussion, dialogue, and criticism regarding the fashion industry and its spaces was truly invaluable.

photo: Denzilpatrick, LFW Press

I firmly believe this Fashion Week marks a pivotal step in the right direction, addressing the very issues fashion needs to confront, amplify, and deconstruct. London Fashion Week June 2024's celebration was a tribute to the many significant communities that have contributed to London’s fashion yet have often gone unheard and unrecognized. Through this event, the BFC has demonstrated that these crucial dialogues can occur, can enhance understanding, can provoke thought, and most importantly, can drive change within the industry. This progress is achieved through genuine representation, respect, and acknowledgement of the communities that enrich the world of fashion with their invaluable contributions.