london fashion week

London Fashion Week vs. New York Fashion Week: What’s the Difference, Really?

Less than 24 hours after the last show in New York Fashion Week walks, England starts firing up its runways for the launch of London Fashion Week. Editors, industry folks, and professional hangers-on are given nary a minute to catch a plane, let alone their breath — and so drawing comparisons between the two Fashion Weeks is inevitable. Whose designers take more risks? Whose front-rowers put on the best fashion show? Whose parties inspire wilder, more drunken, more outlandish antics? The answers may seem obvious (especially if you’re a biased New Yorker), but we polled a handful of fashion insiders from both sides of the pond at last night’s “New York New York” party — thrown by GrandLife NYC, Oak and TANK Magazine at the Maddox Club — to get their take anyway.

Henry Holland, fashion designer who lives in London: “New York is much more commercial, but London is getting more that way too. … Louise Gray is amazing; she’s just so out there and [has] got a distinctive technique and style. Michael Van Der Ham’s stuff is gorgeous. Our big hits in London like Richard Nicholl and Christopher Kane and Giles Deacon — they’re all amazing designers who produce commercially viable collections that would stand out at any of the Fashion Weeks around the world.”

The Cobra Snake, party photographer who lives in New York: “Just walking down the streets of London, I find tons of fashionable people. And sometimes they’re just digesting a style, they don’t always get it right, but they still look kinda cool. And in New York, there’s, you know, a touch of the big city, so it’s not like everybody’s looking amazing. This season, it’s all in black, which is really sad for me because I’m such a colorful guy.”

Susie Bubble, fashion blogger who lives in London: “It’s a cliche, but New York is a lot more commercial. It’s a lot safer. Their lines are there to sell. At London Fashion Week, everyone has their own signature style and they don’t really conform to the trends.”

Faran Krentcil, digital director of Nylon who lives in New York: “New York is all about selling clothes to real girls and London is all about making clothes for fantasy balls. In New York, the big aim, even for the very conceptual shows like Alexander Wang, is to make clothes that everyone wants to buy and wear and make emblematic of who they are in their actual, everyday lives. And in London, part of what’s happening on the runway is part of this dream world — girls from space or girls from heaven. … It’s more about creating these fantasies and seeing whether that can trickle down into real life. Whereas in New York, it’s about, this is what you want to look like now and you’ll only look that way if you buy our clothes.”

Harley Viera-Newton, D.J. who lives in New York: “There are a lot of similarities — [they’re] both very fashion-driven and the music is actually quite similar. … I’m not going to say one is better; you can have an incredible time in both.”

London Fashion Week vs. New York Fashion Week: What’s the Difference, Really?