This week, London has erupted in a brilliant explosion of colour and creativity as fashion has taken over the capital. What’s clear this September is that London Fashion Week is back in full force, and it is super charged.
There is nowhere else in the world where the streets are filled with people being so authentically themselves. London is a place where you can dress up, where freedom of expression is not only encouraged but expected, where nobody notices and anything goes. This is what makes this city magical — its fun, youthful and exuberant spirit.
One of the exhibitions that opened this week just happens to be one that we at the British Fashion Council are very proud of. The BFC NewGen exhibition, Rebel: 30 Years of London Fashion at the Design Museum, which was guest curated by fashion critic Sarah Mower is a must see. This is the first major exhibition to focus solely on the creativity of young designers in Britain, and it tells the story of our 300-odd BFC NewGen alumni.
This is what makes this city magical — its fun, youthful and exuberant spirit
The exhibition shows the impact of politics, culture, music, the club scene, our art schools, film and technology on fashion in the last 30 years. When you fuse all of this together, it creates magic. At the heart of it is London’s dynamic and multifaceted fashion culture. This week, I have reflected on my own beginnings. I was born in Notting Hill Gate in the late Sixties — long before it became an enclave of multi-million-pound houses — to Dad, a BBC designer, and Mum, a sculpture student at the Royal College of Art.
This beginning has made me acutely aware of London’s creative restlessness, driven by our hugely diverse and eclectic community.
It gives me enormous encouragement and hope. Despite our struggle for a national identity and the scars of Brexit and inflation which are being felt, London’s creatives refuse to be halted by these headwinds — instead opting to use them as inspiration to be more innovative, more unique and braver.
We must nurture the next generation of trailblazers and innovators and put creativity at the front and centre. Creativity is our national superpower and it must be protected at all costs.
David Pemsel is chief executive of ScienceMagic and chairman of the British Fashion Council