Catwalking through Europe (and beyond): London fashion week after brexit
Twice a year London becomes the world’s capital for the global fashion elite.
As we approach September’s Fashion Week, there is great speculation surrounding the future of the prestigious event following the UK’s exit from the EU. As naysayers debate the fate of community design rights, the reputation of London Fashion Week as a platform to promote new and unique designs is also being questioned.
It all began in a West London car park in 1984, when the British Fashion Council hosted the first fashion week with the primary aim being to promote British design. The event now sits alongside New York, Paris and Milan as one of the “Big Four” fashion weeks hosting over 200 designers and the lights are not just on the catwalk. Fashion Week attendees and fans dress up and showcase their somewhat flamboyant street style, reminding us just why London is the capital of creativity, as if there was ever any doubt.
The tremendous success of LFW 2016 should reassure us that Brexit is not to be feared.
There was a resounding concern that international designers may abandon the event, but the result was quite the opposite; the event attracted more overseas interest than ever and London proved that it will remain united and open for business.
The speculation is a result of great uncertainty over the scope of intellectual property rights once the terms of Brexit are finalised. To protect their designs within the EU, fashion designers have been relying on unregistered community design rights as a straightforward, practical and convenient method to protect their creations in an industry that is ever changing by nature. The concern is that designers may now have to showcase their work in the EU first to secure community design rights before participating in London Fashion Week. Arguably, this would diminish the importance of the event as a platform to promote new and unique designs. However, as it stands, designers can still benefit from community design rights, and it is likely that the scope of these rights will remain largely unchanged.
The truth is, London will always remain a major leader in the international fashion arena and will continue to attract attention, dictate the latest trends and export its innovative creations all over the world, whether we are in the EU or not.
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