I've always believed that in order to be really good at something, you have to be interested and ideally enjoy doing it. I'm a photographer first and foremost, but I also love fashion, and as someone who loves fashion, it's very important to me to know what's going on in the industry. Obviously there are magazines, and plenty of fashion blogs I can read, but there's no substitute for seeing the latest collections first hand at London Fashion Week.
For a lot of photographers, the easiest way in is to get a press pass and then go and stand at the end of the runway taking photos. Alternatively, they can wander around outside snapping the fashionistas as they dash between shows. For me, that's not something I'm enthusiastic about. I like to create images, not stand in the same place as a dozen other photographers getting exactly the same photos as them. I go to fashion shows to see the collections and to network with people in the industry.
Thankfully, I know some people in the industry that enables me to get invited to various shows. I need to say a very big thank you to Tommy Lloyd Baker at this point who not only got me in, but also got my onto the front row of several shows. Being on the front row is great for two reasons... Firstly it means you get a great view of the clothes, especially the shoes. Mario Testino once said in an interview that for the first couple of years he never got to see shoes as he was always at the back of the shows. The other reason it's good to be at the front is that you get seen. This industry is not so much about who you know, but who knows you! If people recognise your face and see you enough times, they'll be more likely to want to work with you. It might also mean that you appear in photos (see if you can spot me hehe)...
From a photographic point of view, I'm über inspired by some of the clothes I've seen. I've also made a couple of great contacts and spoken to some people about some amazing shoot ideas! It's further emphasised the point to me that whilst the Internet is amazing, and I'm thankful for things like Twitter and Facebook, there's no substitute for meeting and networking with people face to face!
Unfortunately, due to needing to pay the bills and earn the monies, I was only able to do 2 days this time around, but i managed to cram in over 15 shows! The stand out collection for me has to be Lilee's show as part of the Vauxhall Fashion Scout "Ones to Watch". The style and finish on her garments really stood out. A close second was Bunmi Koko who had some amazing outfits! I liked Prophetik's show as a spectacle, and it was definitely the best goodie bag. Hehe. I also saw some pretty horrendous outfits and some shocking excuses for models, but it all adds to the fun of London Fashion Week. I'm already looking forward to next seasons shows!