Digital London Fashion Week – the Verdict

We review the highlights of a pioneering digital London Fashion Week, created during lockdown.

The website was based, they said, on the look of Netflix. Digital London Fashion Week certainly did not lack for content, full of films by designers showcasing their work. There was lots of music, podcasts, discussions, presentations, even an Explore section. You could shop some of the looks as well. 

Are digital fashion weeks here to stay? Paris and Milan may tell us the answer in July, but for now we came away from London with plenty of positive energy from the event, even if much of it had a hit-and-miss quality. 

Designers found new ways to explore their creativity. It’s clear that fashion in London is shifting focus broadly from producing more to producing with care. Our highlights included Stephen Jones’ sophisticated millinery, brought to life with the animated character noonoouri. And Charles Jeffrey’s benefit concert to celebrate black creatives in fashion – as well as a lookbook replete with LOVERBOY style. And Natasha Zinko’s SS21 collection rendered online in three-dimensional space. 

Technology plays a central role in the new fashion. But there was something more touching about this LFW. A sense of community based on common beliefs, a spirit of togetherness in tough times. London fashion at its best. 


Marques’Almeida reM’Ade

“We decided to make this collection because of you.” These words from Marta Marques were addressed to her baby, the inspiration for Portuguese duo Marques’Almeida to create a new sub-brand. Launched through a documentary film, reM’Ade perfectly sums up the new ‘slow down’ aesthetic. Entirely created with deadstock from past M’A collections, reM’Ade is about “letting go of control”, as Marques says. Colourful, fun and innovative, it draws from the past and infuses it with current themes – restart, reuse, rethink.

Preen by Thornton Bregazzi

Turkina Faso’s film for Preen’s seasonless 2020 collection displayed extra-long sequin dresses and tiered ruffled pink gowns. Named “A pause in time, a refresh, a season-less campaign”, it featured a model running in a field-cum-meadow in the heart of London, styled by Masha Mombelli. The soundtrack mixed daily sounds from the city, from elevator voices to the hustle and bustle of the streets. The model wore six different rakish colourful dresses, ranging from cherry red to baby pink, channeling her inner 12-year-old while running and playing around. A tribute to good times and freedom, and a much-needed lighthearted story.

Per Götesson

Per Götesson, in his archive campaign titled ‘The Ghost of Gulliver’, touches on the themes of togetherness and loneliness, looking into what it means to be disconnected while still needing self-expression. Through photography and collage, the designer created an animated campaign that represented the brand’s signature silhouettes while taking the spectator to a dreamy world. As the designer said: “Creating newness for its own sake seemed a frivolous task.” His response was this introspective project, exploring how we react to a lack of human touch. As the lulling soundtrack fades away, the spectator is left with a question – “Floating out on the tide, are you a dream?”

Natasha Zinko 

Ukrainian designer Natasha Zinko premiered a short film in collaboration with DUOltd. Launched in 2019, DUOltd is a London-based collaborative project created with her son Ivan Zinko. Featuring both menswear and womenswear, their SS21 collection is a celebration of Americana. A vision of irreverence and rebellion, garments were punctuated with graphics and pops of red. Red hearts adorned the entirety of a floor-length button-up dress, with a piped collar, like a vintage diner waitress’ uniform – just add roller skates. A print of a revolver was a common motif throughout, combining modern graphic style with a reverence for the age of the Wild West. A denim sleeveless boiler suit paired with a puffy slide sandal; a pinstriped suit with a bell-bottomed pant – old-school Southern style with modern motifs. 

Xander Zhou

Chinese designer Xander Zhou has established a global cult fan base. His LFW collection is an anthem for futurism, inviting viewers to have an immersive look at the pieces via video. Spiralling around a conceptual minimalistic chic and futuristic aesthetics, it’s a celebration of Zhou’s trademarks: superhero shorts, patchwork and zigzag cut. 

Ka Wa Key

“There’s no place like home” was the title of the film showcasing the Spring/Summer 2021 collection from Ka Wa Key. It showcased an abundance of knitted garments, both from the archives and the SS21 collection. Inspired by The Little Prince and fairytales, seven different themes were featured, from an 80s kaleidoscopic universe to a 1910 film setting full of mannequins. Designers Ka Wa Key Chow and Jarno Leppanen recited poems while filming the gender-fluid line. The entire video was shot in London home, the only goal in mind to spread positive messages during these uncertain times.


Stephen Jones Millinery 

Analogue met digital in this SS21 preview by Stephen Jones. Titled Analogue Fairydust, the collection featured creations inspired by planet Earth, modelled by digital character Noonoouri in an animated video. The global pandemic has led Stephen Jones to reflect on and analyse our world. A mathematical silhouette and the values of togetherness and unity associated with it were mirrored in geometrical, dynamic forms of lightweight yet opulent headpieces.

Blue plays a central role in the collection. Representing the water of the world, blue symbolises strength, trust and peace. Dashes of shimmer perfectly contrast the rich, earthy tones found on a dusk-coloured wave crown or Fantasia mask dusted with stars. The digitalised headpieces originate from miniature versions handmade by Jones using scraps of fabrics and Post-it notes held together by pins. Working his analogue magic, he granted insight into new creative processes propelled by the belief in a better future. 

Robyn Lynch 

Irish menswear designer Robyn Lynch created a one-off capsule collection that combined her youthful, sharp aesthetic with a sporty twist. In collaboration with Rapha, the London-based cycling specialist, she created twelve pieces using surplus materials from both her previous collections and the cycling clothing brand.

In a home movie, Lynch documented the making of her collection, giving insights on her moodboard, design process and fittings. The time in her home studio resulted in hybrid pieces such as zip-knit technical sweaters or slit technical shorts which fused her signature cable knit with Lycra and jersey. Added panels created a roomier silhouette while a deep blue and bright orange was contrasted with soft beige and crisp white. Simultaneously emphasising sustainability and highlighting the realities of fashion design during COVID-19, Robyn Lynch’s capsule collection was a true child of lockdown. 

Tíscar Espadas

“Made from home, several homes”. Affected by lockdown, Tíscar Espadas relied on collaboration and trust for her project ‘CAPÍTULO II, first act,’ made in London, Barcelona, Madrid, Úbeda and Pedreguer. Traditional music and matador-like dance movements set the scene for the designer’s film, deeply infused by Tíscar’s Spanish roots. It’s a timeless collection of high-waisted wide trousers, baggy shorts and puff-sleeve collarless shirts, reminiscent of 18th-century Spanish navy uniforms. In a colour palette of black, white and beige, the looks are adorned with her signature hats, the mixture of a bullfighter’s montera and a Napoleonic bicorne. 


JordanLuca has a message to the fashion world: real people’s voices are the ones that will make the revolution happen. Known for their flair at merging the volcanic creativity of London with immaculate Italian tailoring, Jordan Bowen and Luca Marchetto, the duo behind the brand, wanted to reconsider the multiple personal narratives for their SS21 capsule collection launch.

The short film was a collaboration with director Daniel Sannwald and creative directors Charlie le Mindu and Betsy Johnson, who sought to evolve a new aesthetic vocabulary for the brand. As they put it, “neurotic research and meticulous design” merge in the film that looks beyond fashion and creates a platform for collective narratives through local and global communities and sustainable thinking. 


UK brand LYPH’s SS21 collection was presented by creative director Frederick Edmondson. LYPH’s main idea is to let the customer become a designer. Every garment has a module pockets system. You can put the pockets on and take them off, add colours, change the functionality of the garment, play with it. This also creates an opportunity for upcycling of the pieces and accessories. This unique concept might get a new meaning post lockdown. One pocket for a sanitiser, one for a mask, or whatever else you might need moving around and not looking too serious. As Edmondson said in the video; “The most important thing to remember is that we have to have fun with everything that’s why we live young and play hard.”


In a short retro-futuristic film recorded with a spherical selfie view, Li Gong presented 8ON8’s ‘Crown of Ruins’ sustainable headdress collection. Inspired by an expedition in 2126 to gather the relics of the 21st Century, it featured leftover fabrics from previous collections and second-hand clothing upcycled into nine hand-sewn hats. This design process made each one of them a unique piece. Aimed to show “an exquisite craftsmanship in a luxury point of view,” the hats combine elements from cricket caps with Victorian costume details such as classic webbing and sparkling acrylic stones.

Daniel w. Fletcher

Daniel Fletcher presented 12 looks for his Autumn/Winter 2020 collection, titled Start Me Up. Working from home at a different pace made the designer create a cheerful genderless collection, without waste and with a see-now-buy-now approach. Fletcher used recycled materials and two items from his work in Next in Fashion to present a result full of British heritage. From striped silk shirts to hand-painted jackets, the designer dedicated this collection to his seamstresses, who worked from home during the lockdown. With 10% of the collection’s proceeds donated to charities fighting against the consequences of Covid-19 and racial inequalities, Fletcher’s preppy pieces have a whole new purpose.


Charles Jeffrey LOVERBOY

When you come from love, you give love. Charles Jeffrey’s LOVERBOY label originally planned to throw a virtual party from its home base(ment) at Vogue Fabrics Dalston. After carefully considering the recent anti-racism demonstrations, Jeffrey changed course. Instead, he decided to spotlight Black British creatives with a benefit concert called SOLASTA, or “shining,” in Gaelic. Miss Jason…yes, that Miss Jason…hosted a 30-minute set featuring songs, poetry and designer talks, with proceeds going to UK Black Pride. On the fashion side, Jeffrey released a lookbook of capsule images – knits, tees and shorts saturated with LOVERBOY-style clubby, emotive illustrations – available to retailers in December.  

Bianca Saunders – We Are One of The Same 

Designer Bianca Saunders gained traction in the British menswear scene with clothes that redefined masculinity. For digital London Fashion Week, she launched a zine titled We Are One of The Same, created in collaboration with photographer Joshua Woods, stylist Matt Holmes, and writer Jess Cole.

With a documentary style narrative, the zine revolves around society being connected beyond biology with twins Mecca and Faheem through art, fashion, and poetry. The twins were shown wearing some of her A/W20 pieces. It was a new format for her design process. “My work is based on gender, and connection, and finding the balance of similarities,” says Bianca. So relevant in the current climate, highlighting the importance of bridging cultural gaps. 


Priya Ahluwalia’s eponymous brand Ahluwalia, launched in 2018, has firmly arrived on the menswear scene, with a kaleidoscopic examination of dual heritage, community and sustainability. For the launch of her new book, Jalebi, Ahluwalia invited people to visit and explore a 3D VR enhanced exhibition displaying photographs from the tome.
The photographs, shot by Laurence Ellis, roamed through Indian-Nigerian Ahluwalia’s design work and designer’s own experiences of being a mixed-heritage person living in contemporary Britain. The photographs built a vivid sense of the beauty of diversity while celebrating how immigration enriches lives and community.

Art Schools

Central Saint Martins MA

The MA students from Central Saint Martins presented their collections in a ten-minute kaleidoscopic film full of inspiration, looking like a digital lookbook. Designers showcased the visuals they were inspired by, whether a video they had created or images they had researched. Some designers, such as Fraser Miller, filmed the creative process they went through, enabling the viewer to take in all the necessary steps up to the wearing of the final garment. A new soundtrack matched every new designer, ranging from motorbikes sounds and telephone tones to sea waves. A unique way of presenting a graduate collection. 

Westminster MA Fashion

University of Westminster’s MA Menswear students created a quirky video compilation to present their concepts, creation processes and final lineups. As usual with Westminster designers, the show featured some of the freshest design in menswear. Classic menswear staples were reimagined with embroidery, fresh cuts and draping – androgyny and gender fluidity also played a role of course, in the form skirts and crop tops.

What is most clear from the presentation is that these students had fun making –  right down to the wacky inflated socially-distanced bubbles made of shopping bags shown outside various London supermarkets. A high-energy presentation out of the gloom of lockdown.

This article includes contributions from Shriya Zamindar, MC Hill, Zoel Hernandez, Chiara Margherita Di Bernardini, Lisa Zirngast, Hilda Kosunen, Léana Esch, Katia Smirnova, Sophia Mozzali, Dora Boras and Ellie June Goodman

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