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London Fashion Week kicks off with a call for more sustainability


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London Fashion Week opened in spectacular style today with a call for fashion leaders to “come together” to tackle sustainability.

Stephanie Phair, chair of the British Fashion Council (BFC), predicted a “decade of change” for the industry which would bring “new opportunities and challenges”.

This event will see more than 60 catwalk shows and presentations over the next five days, with names including Tommy Hilfiger, Burberry, Christopher Kane, Erdem and Vivienne Westwood showcasing their latest collections. 

Opening the five-day celebration at the event hub at 180 Strand, Phair said: “The 2020s will see new approaches, opportunities and challenges. 

“With this decade of change ahead of us, I am proud to be chair of the BFC at a time when we need to bring the industry together to tackle trade negotiations, sustainable practices and, more recently, coronavirus, in terms of health, sales and fashion tourism.” 

Caroline Rush and Stephanie Phair (Lucy Young)

She added: “Our mission is to ensure that the fashion industry continues to grow in a sustainable way both in the UK and internationally. In volatile times, creativity flourishes. Not only in design but in business models and sustainable practices.”

Figures suggest the fashion industry makes up to 10 per cent of the world’s carbon emissions and puts strain on the planet’s water resources and materials. About 85 per cent of all clothing is said to end up in landfill every year.

The BFC has curated the Positive Fashion Exhibition which showcases the brands who work sustainably and how they achieve it. 

There will also be a series of talks about the environment and how fashion can limit its impact on the planet. 

Phair also spoke about the impact of coronavirus on fashion amid predications that thousands of industry figures would be unable to attend the four major fashion weeks — New York, London, Paris and Milan — due to travel restrictions. This morning, the BFC announced a partnership with Business of Fashion China to bring content from fashion week to those unable to travel, with a platform to share imagery, video and press releases to access the week’s highlights remotely. 

Caroline Rush, chief executive of the BFC, added: “In times of change, creativity remains a constant. And you will see that come alive in the next few days in bucketloads.”

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