High hopes for British luxury ahead of London Fashion Week

Wed Sep 11, 2013 12:35pm EDT
 
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By Li-mei Hoang and Marie-Louise Gumuchian

LONDON (Reuters) - British designers such as Vivienne Westwood, Paul Smith and Burberry's Christopher Bailey are among the top names who will show off their creations during London fashion week from Friday amid high hopes for growth in Britain's luxury sector.

Even as retailers start packing their stores with winter stock, September is one of the most important months in the fashion calendar as the four big catwalk fixtures - New York, London, Milan and Paris - gear up for spring/summer 2014.

Long seen as the smaller sibling to the other fashion capitals, London is best known as a showcase for cutting edge talent and avant-garde trends, mixing new names such as Simone Rocha with established designers like Westwood.

The spring/summer and autumn/winter fashion weeks in London each attract more than 100 million pounds ($160 million) in orders, according to the British Fashion Council (BFC) as well as buyers, journalists and bloggers from around the world.

"It's an exciting time for London with a host of established brands such as Tom Ford and Burberry firmly on the calendar alongside new talent and labels which are growing," said Helen David, head of womenswear at luxury department store Harrods.

"The city's reputation for innovative and eclectic designs continues to be cemented."

Despite a still struggling global economy, British fashion brands are hoping to cash in on evidence of a rebound in the luxury sector as solid demand in Japan and the United States combined with recovery in Europe offset China's slowdown.

Burberry, known for its camel, red and black check pattern, posted an 18 percent jump in first quarter sales, driven by robust demand for spring/summer fashion.   Continued...

 
Photographs of models are seen on the floor during a casting call for Haizhen Wang's Spring/Summer 2014 collection in central London in this file photograph dated September 6, 2013. British designers such as Vivienne Westwood, Paul Smith and Burberry's Christopher Bailey are among the top names who will show off their creations during London fashion week from Friday amid high hopes for growth in Britain's luxury sector. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett/files