Last year, we noticed a trend of commercial retail brands deciding to show during Fashion Month -- primarily during New York Fashion Week -- and one of them was Whistles, which showed in London for the second time last season, though not on the official calendar.
Well, the decision seems to have paid off. The British high street retailer announced Friday that it would show its Fall 2014 collection as part of the official London Fashion Week schedule for the first time.
And coincidentally, another more commercially-minded brand announced today that it, too, would be showing that week: Hunter Boots. Yep, the Welly purveyors are expanding into ready-to-wear. Stay tuned.
Commercial brands like Hunter and Whistles, which operates an e-commerce site and stores throughout Europe, have a lot of potential reasons for showing during Fashion Week despite not quite fitting in with the "designers" we expect to see there. One is to get the validation that potentially comes with being associated with an event like New York or London Fashion Week. Another is that it puts the designer on an international stage, giving brands who want to expand internationally the opportunity to present to press and buyers from across the globe. For instance, that's why J. Crew decided to start showing on the NYFW calendar, and now they're in London. Fingers crossed this is a sign that Whistles is coming to the states.
Perhaps taking a cue from J.Crew, Whistles will also stage a presentation instead of a runway show so that CEO Jane Shepherdson can meet with guests. A rep also told us that Whistles' wholesale business has benefited from showing during LFW, and being on the official calendar will allow for a larger guest list.
It will be interesting to see whether or not editors will make time for these commercial brands in their schedules. Fashion people love Whistles, and its Spring 2014 collection was great, but we wonder if Hunter will be able to drum up the same excitement.