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History of London Fashion Week

It seems like every season there’s a new designer joining the ranks of fashion’s design stars at London Fashion Week but what about those names that have stood the test of time and been an integral part to the event’s 30 year history? As we gear up for #TheVintageCollections at Clerkenwell Vintage Fashion Fair we highlight the names that will be popping up at the fair and on the catwalks this season.

In 1983 the British Fashion Council was founded and the first edition of London Fashion Week took place in February 1984, as well as the first ever British Fashion Awards where Katharine Hamnett picked up Designer of the Year. Unfortunately, Katharine’s political slogans and ethical wares haven’t been seen on the catwalks of London Fashion Week since 2003 but many of the designers who scooped the Designer of the Year award in the following years will be on the show schedule this coming week.

Eight years after producing his first womenswear collection, which Vogue featured in a six-page spread and dubbed him the rising star of fashion, Jasper Conran scooped the accolade. The acclaimed fashion critic Suzy Menkes reported, “The beating heart of his design ethos: English with an edge”, which explains his decision to continue to show at London Fashion Week from the very first edition. Jasper Conran is first up on the catwalk agenda at 9am on Saturday 15th.

Fashion darling Vivienne Westwood will be showing her Red Label brand at 5pm next Sunday 16th. Her politically charged garments were already a household name from her Punk-era defining work in the 1970s when she scooped the top award at the British Fashion Awards two years running in 1990 and 1991. A year later she was awarded an OBE.

Simone Rocha might be the new buzz designer on every fashion editor’s lips but her father John Rocha has been showing his ready-to-wear line at London Fashion Week for decades. Rocha, who was born in Hong Kong but came to the UK 30 years ago and has lived in Ireland for the last 20 years, picked up Designer of the Year in 1993 and will show his AW14 collection at 1pm next Saturday 15th.

Paul Costelloe (Tuesday 18th 2:30pm), Margaret Howell (Sunday 16th 10am) and Pam Hogg (Friday 14th 6:30pm at Fashion Scout) are also veterans of the London fashion scene to watch for again this season and there are also a few names from the early days who we miss like John Galliano, Betty Jackson and Ghost.

Our top tip this London Fashion Week is to head to #TheVintageCollections at Clerkenwell Vintage Fashion Fair on Sunday 16th and scout out some of these vintage names for an investment piece in your wardrobe by a name synonymous with British style.

We’re part of the official London Fashion Week event schedule: