On a sunny afternoon back in August – the month where many will escape London for their summer holiday, rather than partake in any sort of fashion-related affair – I was invited to watch Art School film their London Fashion Week content. Myself, and a small group of editors, attended probably one of the only IRL fashion shows in London since Covid struck, and it certainly lived up to its expectations.

Before the sartorial shenanigans officially commenced, I had the opportunity to roam around backstage and catch a glimpse of the garments that were on offer. Backstage was hosted in the very charming Lauderdale House, which can be found in Waterlow Park in North London, where the show would take place. Instead of the reduced-in-size collection that I was expecting to see, there were 54 looks hanging on the rails. Instead of the brand’s usual monochrome colour palette, designer, Eden Loweth, threw in some tones of moss and navy. Even before the show had started, I had already been met with surprises.

As is the way with every Art School show, an array of characters had been cast for the show, but this was certainly its most diverse yet. Amputees, albino children and models with down syndrome all walked the runway, alongside their usual mix of elderly and LGTBQ+ cast. The pandemic definitely didn’t hinder Loweth’s desire to represent the under-represented, in fact, it seemed to have propelled this drive more.

We were seated at the end of what would normally be a park path. For the time Art School had it for, it became their runway, where military tailoring, oversized silhouettes and slashed silk dresses took precedence. The brand’s minimal, grunge aesthetic was still present, but now it was shown completely unrefined. The clothes suggested that the models had been through a struggle, coming out of the other side in these looks that were battered but just about intact. It was a symbol of many people’s psyche as they came out of lockdown, reading to take on the ‘new normal’ despite having felt such lows over the last few months.

As equally moving as the show, was the live soundtrack played by Celeste. Her soulful voice added to the air of reflection and growth that was strongly felt throughout the show, which inevitably gave hope to myself, and my fellow industry insiders that good will come out of this period. While happening in very different circumstances, Loweth’s SS21 show still managed to bring a smile to my face, and if fashion that is dark and slightly desolate on aesthetic value can do that, anything can. 

Watch Art School's London Fashion Week film here.

More More More!

+ The First Digital London Fashion Week: Our Best Bits...

+ In Review | London Fashion Week AW20...

+ Surprise Me!