Bold London fashion seeks way out of recession

Mon Sep 20, 2010 1:36pm EDT
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By Marie-Louise Gumuchian

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - London Fashion Week is emerging from the shadow of a recession that has hung over the industry the last few seasons, with confident designers presenting bold creations to put the city on a par with other catwalk capitals.

London has produced some of fashion's biggest names, such as John Galliano, Alexander McQueen and Stella McCartney, and its designers are regarded as among the world's most avant garde.

However it has struggled to maintain a profile on a par with Milan, Paris or New York. This season designers have sought to win over recession-weary shoppers, showing London can have as much clout as the other three cities.

"I think London is on an all time high," designer Julien Macdonald said after his spring/summer 2011 show. "We're there, we're successful, we're making a living for ourselves. We have all the young designers and they're amazing."

Britain has some of the best fashion colleges, designers and retailers in the world and events like London Fashion Week as well as a retail environment with highly desirable shopping hubs help to attract tourists.

"This is the flagship for a 21 billion (pound) industry and I think you can judge for yourself by the number of people who are here that this can only be good," British fashion reporter Hilary Alexander said at a packed show for Vivienne Westwood's Red Label.

The direct value of the fashion industry to the British economy is nearly 21 billion pounds ($32.77 billion) out of an economy worth just over a trillion pounds.

Without the backing of big design houses many new talents have decamped elsewhere to nurture their careers. But the return of some brands to London's catwalks from abroad is a boost.   Continued...

<p>Models present creations from the Peter Pilotto 2011 Spring/Summer collection at London Fashion Week September 20, 2010. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett</p>