London is one of the world's most influential cities for fashion with many major home-grown labels, high-profile events and resident fashion icons. So how to make the best of your stay in London if you're a fashionista? See below for a guide to one of the fashion capitals of the world.
London Fashion Week
So what is it about London that makes it so fashion friendly? Well, for a start London Fashion Week is one of the highest profile events in the fashion world and ranks as one of the 'big four' international catwalk influencers, along with New York, Milan and Paris. The show is held twice a year in February and September. Events used to take place either at the British Fashion Council's own space, 180 Strand, or at external locations around central London. Since recent years however, designers have shown in the 'Vinyl Factory', situated in Soho. And what may be some of the trends to watch for, may you ask? Well, punk inspired pieces, tulle and taffeta, netting, sparkles, pastels, bold colors as well as oversize pieces were some of the breakout trends. So, let's see if February's edition follows suit!
Following London Fashion Week each season, the 4-day London Fashion Week Festival (LFWF) is also organized and offers a consumer-orientated fashion week experience. Held at The Store Studios, 180 The Strand, the festival allows consumers to shop designer collections at show exclusive prices, sit front row at catwalk shows by London Fashion Week designers, get a head start on the key trends of the coming season and listen to talks by industry experts.
London: the UK's most fashion forward city
It's not just the events and awards that make London stand out as a global fashion capital. London is a hotbed of emerging talent with graduates from Central Saint Martins and the Royal College of Art and an influx of fantastic foreign talent like Peter Pilotto and Roksanda Ilinicic setting up business here. And there are plenty of serious heavy-weight designers now based in London including Burberry, Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen and Paul Smith to name just a few.
Fashion for everyone
While you may enjoy admiring the looks of some of the world's most lauded fashion designers, you may also want to enjoy a splurge without breaking the bank. Oxford Street is probably the most famous shopping street in London where you'll be able to find popular shops and department stores. The Radisson Blu Edwardian Berkshire Hotel is just off Oxford Street and within minutes of key attractions such as the flagship John Lewis store, Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, Buckingham Palace and the West End theaters.
Regent Street is also a great choice as it's one of the most popular retail streets in London. Also worth a mention for those who may be traveling to London with kids is the oldest toy shop in the world, Hamleys, which is a wonderland for both children and adults. Many bloggers also recommend a trip to Zara on the Brompton Road in search of the perfect summer staple – this is a great shop if you're looking to snatch a fun on- trend piece that you may only wear a couple of times and that you wouldn't be willing to spend a fortune on. Insider's tips: Hipsters shop in Soho and Covent Garden. Head to the markets in Spitalfields for vintage bargains and hang around Hoxton with the arty crowd. A great little find is Marylebone market on Saturday at the top of Moxon Street. One stand sells designer pieces which are sold for less than half the retail price as they have been used on photo shoots! At the end of the day, London has more unique and sumptuous clothing and fashion boutiques than one could possibly cover in one blog post.
Stay at the Radisson Blu Edwardian, Bloomsbury and you'll be a short walk from Tottenham Court Road tube station and the central line, which takes you directly to Liverpool Street and Old Spitalfields Market!