London Fashion Week hosts virtual event amid pandemic restrictions

Brands such as Burberry have embraced the all-digital format, which will bring womenswear and menswear to a gender-neutral show

(FILES) In this file photo taken on February 17, 2020 models present creations during the British fashion house Burberry 2020 Autumn / Winter collection catwalk show during London Fashion Week in London. London Fashion Week, which begins on February 19, 2021, has shifted to a virtual format amid Britain's Covid lockdown and while usual mainstays like Victoria Beckham won't be parcitipating, designers like Burberry have embraced the online show. / AFP / Ben STANSALL
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London Fashion Week begins today in an online format because of a coronavirus lockdown, with mainstays such as Victoria Beckham shunning the event but others like Burberry embracing the online avatar.

Despite the absence of global celebrities and fashionistas, designers such as Turkey's Bora Aksu, Britain's Molly Goddard and Ireland's Simone Rocha will stream their collections on the London Fashion Week website.

Most of the 94 designers participating in the show, which concludes on Tuesday, February 23, will broadcast video highlights of their collections showcasing menswear, womenswear or mixed fashions in an event that is now gender-neutral.

On Monday, British brand Burberry will present its menswear Autumn/Winter collection for 2021, designed by Italian creative director Riccardo Tisci.

In September, the brand presented its Spring/Summer 2021 collection in a film set in the middle of a forest and broadcast live on Twitch.

More than 40,000 people watched the innovative show, which could be viewed from different perspectives.

Impact of Brexit

The UK has suffered more than 119,000 Covid-19 deaths and has been on lockdown since January.

The fashion sector, which employs more than 890,000 people and contributed £35 billion ($49 million) to the UK's gross domestic product in 2019, has also been affected by Brexit and the end of free movement between the EU and Britain.

In early February, hundreds of fashion figures signed an open letter, co-ordinated by the industry forum Fashion Roundtable, that said the sector risked suffering because of Brexit.

To increase the visibility of young talent in the pandemic, the British Fashion Council, which represents the industry, partnered with social media company TikTok.

The umbrella organisation also joined forces with Clearpay, a group that allows customers to "buy now pay later", to boost sales.