The trends at Britain’s biggest fashion event? Pre-loved clothes, designer rentals, retro looks you can source in your attic and the end of single-use coathangers
As irony would have it, the Sunday of London fashion week was a freakishly warm day for mid-September. Victoria Beckham’s show was being held in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, so there was a queue snaking down King Charles Street in Westminster while ID cards were checked, bags were scanned and the audience lolled in the sunshine. On the other side of the road, the fashion queue was mirrored by an orderly lineup of climate crisis activists – many dressed not dissimilarly from the fashion crowd, with a lean toward asymmetric clothing and unusual sunglasses – holding placards reading “The Ugly Truth About Fashion” and “Business As Usual Is Killing The Planet”.
Sara Arnold, an Extinction Rebellion spokesperson, talked eloquently about the need to “wake people up to their power as citizens, not consumers”. A fashion photographer, perhaps misjudging the mood, began to heckle her, only to be shushed by the very showgoers who the protesters were facing off against. “If we realise and act now, we have the power to change our course,” Arnold continued. The fashion industry audience listened politely, until all the Saint Laurent and Gucci handbags had been through the scanner and we could file into the show space, where a view of David Beckham and Dame Helen Mirren displaced from our minds any thought of the imminent demise of the human race.