Could Jermyn Street's public catwalk shows be the future of LFW?

St. James’s open air catwalk show could be viewed by the public [Photo: St. James’s]

On Saturday 10 June, London Fashion Week Men’s saw Jermyn Street, in the the heart of St James’s, play host to a trio of catwalk shows – ones that could change the future of Fashion Weeks.

For the third year running, an open-air catwalk complete with backstage dressing area was set up in the centre of the street, allowing celebrities and industry elite to take their seats on the FROW, but also giving the public and Jermyn Street shoppers a full view of the action.

Proceedings kicked off at 11am with the first of two St James’s shows, featuring 25 designers from the menswear shopping area, styled by GQ’s Fashion Editor Grace Gilfeather and shown in a see-now-by-now format.

Brands included heritage companies New & Lingwood, Turnbull & Asser and Aquascutum, alongside contemporary and new-to-the-area names Norwegian Rain, Paul & Shark and Sunspel.

VIPs David Gandy, Jim Chapman, Hu Bing and Toby Huntington-Whiteley were spotted on the FROW [Photo: St. James’s]

Later in the afternoon, Knitwear designer John Smedley took to the runway for its inagural show and first foray into the see-now-buy-now category.

The SS18 collection, titled ‘Precision/Fluidity’, teamed sharp tailoring and fine merino wool with Japanese-inspired embroidery and bold silk prints.

John Smedley held its first ever catwalk show on Jermyn Street [Photo: St. James’s]

In addition to the catwalk shows, leading British designer Lou Dalton held her SS18 men’s presentation from a pop-up space on Jermyn St.

Models posed in the shop-front window, wearing merino wool sweaters with exposed seams, casual 1990s silhouettes and beachy stripes; hand painted by John Booth, and digitally printed onto fabrics.

Lou Dalton held her SS18 presentation in a Jermyn Street shop window [Photo: JABPromotions/WWD/REX/Shutterstock]

Writing about the events for GQ, model, fashion blogger and YouTube star Jim Chapman said the Jermyn Street shows were a sign of the industry moving with the times.

“The world is moving fast and it’s never been more important to engage on every level in order to garner a fresh audience,” he said.

“If it weren’t for the foresight of areas such as St James’s, so much of that history could be lost. And that would be a tragedy.”

Jim Chapman poses for street style photographers after the John Smedley show [Photo: Yahoo Style UK/Sabrina Carder]

So could the success of St. James’s this LFWM encourage more designers to open up their shows to the public in upcoming seasons?

Considering Burberry’s see-now-buy-now strategy shift, introduced in September 2016, is already proving successful and being adopted by multiple other brands, it’s certainly possible.

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