Twice a year London town becomes overrun with fashionistas, journalists, ‘It Girls’ and bloggers – or at least much more so than usual. London Fashion Week descends on us biannually to showcase the fashion and trends of the following seasons, looking forward to what the high street will copy in six months time. Although it’s an amazing industry event, allowing buyers to handpick key items for their stores and magazines to pull together edits we drool over, it’s become somewhat of a circus in recent years. I see fellow bloggers and readers expressing their desire to attend shows and have the benefit of sneaking backstage, but LFW isn’t as glamorous and exciting as some of us make out. If you’ve ever wanted to sneak behind the gates of Somerset House and find out how fashion is born for yourself, then this is what London Fashion Week is *really* like…
People Are There Just To Be Seen
It drives me mental how many people dress up to the nines and hang around the venues just to be seen. It appears that the majority of people are there just to pose next to the LFW sign and tweet a few pictures, closely followed by those trying to get snapped and featured in a street style piece. Considering Somerset House is made of cobbled stone and there’s never anywhere to sit, it constantly amazes me how many women (and men) tie up their seven inch platform shoes and trot off to stumble around all day. It becomes obvious incredibly quickly how many people are genuinely there for the fashion and how many are there just to say they’ve been.
You Queue Longer Than You See The Show
British people love a queue, but at fashion week queues are something else entirely. Although the majority of people are issued tickets and specific seats, a lot of the shows have unallocated seating – meaning you have to queue for your life to even guarantee a place to pop your bum. I’ve often queued for thirty minutes, grabbed a place and waited for another twenty before the show actually begins; what’s even worse is that the shows are normally over in a flash (less than ten minutes) and then there’s a huge queue to get out. It’s a huge amount of faff for a few minutes of fashion.
Backstage Is Madness
If you’re interested in what goes on behind the scenes, specifically how the hair and makeup is developed, then you’ll spend the majority of your time backstage seeing the transformations take place. What people fail to tell you is that they often have 20 models, 20 hair stylists and 20 makeup artists (as well as 20 PRs and 20 journalists) in a space that resembles a train station waiting room. There’s never enough room, something always goes wrong and you’ll inevitably step on something expensive or knock over a can of Diet Coke onto a hair piece.
Nobody Really Wants You There
Although I receive oodles of invitations from brands and PRs wanting me to raise awareness of a new product, talk about a key trend or simply discuss their association with fashion, once you’re actually backstage it becomes evident that nobody wants you there. At the end of the day designers, hair stylists and makeup artists are there to do a job and we’re all getting in the way. They’re under enough pressure as it is, are probably more tired than you’ll ever be in your life and have thirteen more models to do in the next hour, so it’s no surprise they get a little grumpy and would rather you didn’t ask silly questions. So try not to.
You’ll Be Knackered & Starving
Running between shows and trying to fit in eight different appointments in six hours isn’t the most enjoyable of experiences, especially because we’re in England and it inevitably rains. The first day may seem like fun, but repeating that for five days in a row (while adding in a couple of after parties) will soon see you feeling like you need to jump on a plane heading towards a beach. Pair that with the fact that there’s no time to eat (not even somewhere to even grab more than a stale croissant,) and you’ll be feeling more than a little flaky.
If all that honesty and realism doesn’t put you off, then you’ll be needing some flat comfortable shoes, an umbrella, sugary snacks and a bag big enough to carry everything without breaking a shoulder. London Fashion Week is certainly an experience and should be undertaken by those keen to know more at least once, but it’s worth preparing yourself for the reality of the event. Although Somerset House is filled to the brim with photographers, bloggers and C-List celebrities, it’s vital to remember it’s an industry event that should be treated as such – professionalism and compassion is key, especially when it comes to asking a head stylist a question when he’s knee-deep in hairspray.