21 February 2016

Q&A with the Talented Lee Lapthorne

WHAT Q&A with Lee Lapthorne
WHEN  21st February 2016 
WHERE  Online

What impact is commercialisation having on LFW ?

It's always had an impact but even more so now. We will see many changes. It was Henry Holland (who is a very savvy commercial creative) who decided to switch seasons and show a see now, buy now fashion at LFW. International boutique and department buyers have been absent from LFW for a number of years, due to spending the majority of the budgets on pre collections. Moreover in general buyers confirm orders at the trade shows of Paris Fashion Week. It's now only a matter of time that LFW becomes a consumer event. 

 How can a new designer be heard in this crowded landscape? 

Simply by finding a USP for their brand, collection and presentations. Those larger more established brands are expected to create huge brand catwalk experiences for consumers such as celebrity driven Victoria Secrets and Burberry shows to drive press and sales. New emerging designers should consider more intimate and clever formats for press and focusing their next season collection sales in Paris. Faustine Steinmetz who we have been supporting for a while is a great example of this. Faustine is creating unique presentations that are a social media bloggers dream to photograph, which is in turn helping to build her DNA and brand. And a big question is do designers need to show during the constraints of the 5 days of LFW as it becomes more commercial??

Tip for the top - What elements does it take to be a successful designer in today's saturated market? 

A Unique Selling point, Strong DNA and Brand identity, Professionalism, Determination and above all quality product with good price points – remember it’s a business and you need to be able to sell and deliver..

 The Zoolander effect -should fashion embrace satire?

Those that know me well - know I'm the first to laugh and throw sarcastic comments during those special moments and especially myself. 

Sorry I just don't get the love for Zoolander and why those in our industry are celebrating it...
I've come to the conclusion that it grates with me because I support passionately new designers and the talented students I meet.  From seeing talented but underprivileged students leave courses because their parents felt that the arts and fashion / creative industry isn't a serious career. They believe it's full of self obsessed egotistical, narcissistic wannabes who are never taken seriously and its all for fun - frivolous... and in my opinion this film compounds this perception.

Many young dreams and hopes have been shattered by this assumption and talented creatives pushed into jobs that will never fulfill their desire to be expressive or create. Yes we have some eccentric characters and we do some amazing unconventional things - but thank goodness we do - as otherwise this world would be a far duller place without them.. Bowie, Blow, Piaggi. Craig Green's catwalk presentation was reported in the Sunday Times as a Zoolander moment - yet I felt this was misunderstood and actually a well considered artistic endeavor. Discuss... 

    What do you think about the moves from brands like Burberry and Henry Holland who now choose to sell ‘in the season’?

I think it makes total sense for the larger brands who sell their collections direct to the consumer and is a good commercial move. What is now in question is when and how do emerging designers show? It’s a difficult question to those designers who do not have the capacity to sell direct to customers.

   If more were to follow, how do you see designers continuing to engage with the fashion community - buyers and press? 

I believe that the emerging designers could step out side of the LFW format. PRESS - Show their ccurrent collections in an intimate setting for press in time to hit the lead times of publishing. BUYERS - present next seasons collections at trade show events in Paris for main and pre collections. This I suspect will change as designers start to revolt and refuse to create 4 collections a year.

    Lee - what will On|Off do the support designers and be ahead of the curb? 

Watch this space! On|Off has always been a leader and pioneer of LFW - 1st to live stream all our shows, to watch videos on demand of shows downloadable off iTunes, to have a virtual space on Secondlife and embrace augmented reality publications... We are currently working on future ideas and whilst the other events during LFW are headed one way - we hope to turn and head in another...

   Lee - will this new wave have an immediate effect - positive or negative on emerging designers? 

I think this change will initially mean confusion, but we should embrace the changes, find solutions and a new path for emerging talent. What I suspect will happen is a few of us will lead the way and the industry will then embrace it as their own.

   Prince Cassius - How does the blogging world feel about this new commercial move? 

I am extremely excited and support this new commercial move. Everything has become digital these days and as a fashion blogger the internet is our fastest source of tool to find out "whats's hot" "what people are talking about etc" and being able to support a talented emerging designer by spreading the world - is what we were made to do. 

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