Fashion Week: Do we still need catwalk shows?

Fashion Week: Do we still need catwalk shows?

I love the excitement of discovering new clothes, but as Fashion Month around the world comes to a close, I’m wondering: is there still a place for catwalk shows?

This thought came to me when watching the Burberry show (via livesteam, obvs- I wasn’t there.) It made me really sad to see people privileged enough to make the front row sit there watching the action through the camera lens of their mobile phone.

But then I realised that they probably don’t have much choice. Because for any journalists attending these shows, the pressure is on to see, evaluate and write up a critique of the designs instantly. Case in point- I saw a summary and review of shows in the Evening Standard from earlier that day. Madness!

These shows are pure performance art (as Burberry flawlessly demonstrates time after time). Yet after six months of work, they are over in ten minutes, posted instantaneously on social media, and within 24 hours they are virtually forgotten about.

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Technology poses an issue for catwalk shows for another reason: these days we want everything now. This has led to a rise in brands offering up their collections for purchase immediately after the show, but what’s a girl to do with next year’s autumn/winter trends as the year moves into spring/summer?

Some designers are starting to reflect this, by making designs more ‘season neutral’. But if this becomes more widespread, is there really any point in conglomerating shows to two specific weeks of the year?

Well, there is some purpose in setting the date- it means celebrities can come sit in the front row for several shows in a short space of time. This is something that definitely riles me. Of course brands want the ‘cool kids’ at their shows, but it often feels like Fashion Week has split into two camps- the catwalks are reserved for the V.V.I.P.s, and the rest of us embrace the street style.

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That is the one definite upside to Fashion Week for me- it’s a call to arms for each city’s most stylish individuals to congregate and share their unique looks.

Because while technology might be making things tricky for designers, it’s helping to showcase the incredible style of people from across the globe who would otherwise be overlooked.

The jury might be out on the role of catwalk shows, but for the incredible street style shots, I’m still thankful for Fashion Week.

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