AGR’s sales are under £1 million but growing fast — climbing 122 per cent year on year in 2021, according to the brand. LFW gave Robinson the opportunity to show how AGR is evolving beyond the knitwear for which she is known, into swimwear and accessories . “We’re a full-bodied brand,” she says. “We do this to give us more time to produce orders, and it also helps us to deliver orders early — this longer and better sell-throughs and keeps our stores happy.”
Emerging designers say they benefited from more press coverage during this LFW. “Although we had less people in town, it gave designers that did show more of a platform to get more press and attention,” says Harry Fisher, founder and buying and sales director of Htown, a London-based store and agency that does sales for AGR and Ahluwalia. He adds that he was “delighted” by the “great turnout” of international buyers at both brands’ shows, and he expects certain standout pieces to sell well .
Like Robinson, British-Nigerian designer Olubiyi Thomas saw the earlier June event as an opportunity. “If you show in September, [buyers] have already spent their money. Obviously they’ll hold it for the big guys [brands]. But I’ve got to hit this hard and show now. This is where the market is. I’ll probably do something in September, but it won’t be a show.”
Buyers seemed happy with the range of designers on show.“[It was very good with loads of young designers sharing their collection in a vigorous and dynamic way,” says Raphaël Deray, buyer for men’s luxury and designers at Printemps. “Most of the shows were colourful and showed enthusiasm regarding the future, while implementing some retro touches. It was definitely a much smaller crowd and a lighter schedule than usual. But, this is also a good thing, especially for a buyer. We can focus more on what is being presented, stay at the events longer and get the chance to speak with the design/commercial teams more easily.”
LFW has been gender-neutral since April 2020, when the BFC announced it would abandon binary shows. “[A co-ed schedule] gives a full perspective on the brand identity, which is super important,” says Printemps’s Deray. “It is also a good way to develop a more genderless fashion, with men wearing women’s products and vice versa. It is something we see more and more especially at Printemps where we have a good share of women buying into our menswear products.”