A view from London Fashion Week

Managing Editor Abi Grogan attended London Fashion Week SS20 to report back on next season’s trends straight from the catwalk

Every Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter, Specialist produces a fashion magazine for Specsavers showcasing its vast collection of glasses. The magazine features specs from every price range, with the aim of inspiring customers to choose something fashionable, whether they spend £25 on its own-brand frames, or £100+ on higher-end designer pieces, such as Balmain and HUGO.

Articles for the magazine are planned much like usual newsstand fashion magazines, developing features around trends taken directly from the catwalk, such as colours, patterns and fabrics. They are then formed into full-length features that closely fit Specsavers’ newest collections. As the trends filter down from the catwalk onto the high street, our photo shoots include clothing from these retail stores, which dovetail nicely with the trends found in Specsavers’ new collections.

Abi has attended LFW for nine
years [Photography: Sam Beasor]

I’ve been attending London Fashion Week for nine years, and went to the first London Fashion Week Men’s when it debuted in a small private members’ club in Covent Garden eight years ago. Now it’s growing on a scale that competes with the bi-annual women’s shows, which showcase fashion from a Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter perspective.

Attending London Fashion Week is a time-consuming process. You need to apply to the British Fashion Council for press accreditation, before contacting each designer individually to request access to their show. With the explosion of the blogger and influencer culture, the shows are busier than ever, which adds logistical pressure onto an event whose application process is already hugely oversubscribed.

As well as noting the designer looks seen on runway models, inspiration is also taken from the looks modelled by the various attendees. As London Fashion Week is an event where you can literally wear whatever you like, there is a whole melting pot of personal fashion to observe. Some attendees dress up in head-to-toe designer brands and heels, whereas aspiring fashion designers wear creative handmade items and others sport battered Dr Martens or charity shop and vintage finds.

Abi takes inspiration for Specsavers Magazine spreads straight from the London Fashion Week runways 
[Photography: Sam Beasor]

My personal favourite are the photographers. They couldn’t care less about making an impression, and are dressed instead for comfort in plain t-shirts and hiking boots as they set up at the end of each runway. In recent years, a handful of politically motivated outfits have popped up, often challenging fast fashion or sustainability. This year, the shows were full of the usual colourful characters, including a face-painted, middle-aged man, wearing a gold lamé toga, netting cape and flowers plaited into his beard.

All of the shows provide inspiration for the trend report, as sometimes obscure details seen on the clothes can become an innovative link to details on Specsavers new frames. For example, red, white and blue graffiti on a skirt can translate nicely over to the tricolour Tommy Hilfiger logos found on the sides of Specsavers’ new glasses. Some of the trends are more obvious. For example, we saw a lot of clear plastic jackets and sheer dresses at the SS20 shows, which align with the clear glasses trend that continues to be popular.

Our favourite – and most relevant – show was Fashion Scout’s A-PLAN catwalk, which featured casual tailoring with a modern twist. Skirts with structured pleats and paper-bag waists provided a structural base for the outfits, while thoughtful cut-out sections on the rear of jackets, cuffs of trousers added further interest. Matte, bold colours, such as orange, lime yellow and electric blue, added a pop of colour to the pieces, combined with high-contrast monochrome patterns in large prints. This kind of showcase is most relevant to our trend forecasting because it’s more accurate for us to link bold, flat colours and simple patterns to designs at Specsavers.

Abi Grogan    
Managing Editor