Lucy London The Woman behind London's Queer Fashion Show
When it comes to fashion the buzzword of diversity and inclusion has been floating around for quite some time. With the increased pressure from designers globally to include more body sizes on the runway, more people of colour and more accessibility. And whilst there have been a number of strides in the industry some may say that it is still not enough. The London Queer Fashion Show (LQFS) is something that does just this, celebrating the creativity and work of designers showing that there is more to fashion than just womenswear and menswear in the traditional forms that have always existed and allowed a platform for new designers and talent that may have felt a level of exclusion from the talent fashion standards. Leading this movement is Lucy London a fashionista shaking the moulds and expectations of what fashion should be and giving a new generation of fashion creatives a space to create work that goes beyond the unexpected.
From a young age, fashion has always been a way of self-expression for Lucy who has always seen it as a medium that once she discovered played with and has constantly been developing in her own way of self-expression. The draw in which is being able to express different elements of your personality simply through draping your body in cloth.
When you look at Lucy this is something that very much comes across in her style which can be described as eclectic, multicultural influenced and comfortable. This is just one thing that makes her stand out as her own person in the work that she does.
However, getting to this level and confidence in being able to dress the way she does and have the self-assurance in her style has not always been the case. “It hasn’t always been easy to express myself in the way I do now. In fact, when I was younger it was very hard. I had a lot of pressure to conform, from where I grew up and family. The age that I am now, I have grown into knowing how I wish to express myself. Not giving a damn and whoever doesn’t like it, DON’T look!”
It is with this ethos and belief that Lucy takes in running LQFS in the hopes that it can encourage others to express themselves however they wish. And moving on to the London Queer Fashion Show which is returning for another year and is set to take place at the Victoria & Albert Museum on September 20th. Described as “A movement of like-minded creatives and a space that was needed for so long” and having already had a number of successful years behind it, one might think there is pressure around the show of which Lucy recognises not as pressure but rather a responsibility.
“There is no pressure, just responsibility. As a fashion industry professional, I feel it’s my duty to provide the best environment that my queer designers can have. As a queer, gay woman I feel a desire to create a space for all my community to exist in equally. There is no pressure, just excitement and hope in creating a safe space that everyone can benefit from”
And so in elevating and growing the show to where it is now there have been some challenges that one would expect to stumble across, however having gotten to where it is now it is very evident and clear that something like this is very much necessary and needed and it is with the support from the designers and everybody involved in the show that it is been able to get to where it is now
“Whenever you try and do something new it can take time to build trust within your ideas. LQFS has had loyal community support from the start. LQFS is for our community, created by our community. It has been the best experience within my working career. Being able to create a platform for all designers to have the opportunity to show. For people to come together, network, socialise and be 100% themselves.”
In terms of the actual show itself which has continued to grow the show this year is set to continue to become bigger and better with more designers, as well as an exclusive selling floor hosting charities, services and fashion brands that attendees can access. Not to mention hosting an after-party which will be the biggest queerest fashion party ever.
With all the celebration of the LGBTQ+ community with LQFS, there is still a much larger conversation about LGBTQ+ and its role and place within the fashion industry that cannot be overlooked. Once again with accessibility to such in the industry there is a call for more for the community within fashion. For a lot of designers and fashion houses there have been a number of firsts within the inclusion of models and people that identify as LGBTQ+. And while this is something that we applaud in the case of Lucy appreciates that The LGBTQ+ community are being recognised as a force within the Fashion arena, and also recognises there is still more to be done.
“There is always more to be done. If that means corporate feel it’s on “trend” and talk about it. I want everyone talking about it! Until every human has the same rights to love and live freely there is work to be done. Shining a light and creating a safe space for people to express themselves creatively is what we have created through LQFS. There has been many conversations on where our power is within the LGBTQ+ community, especially around times such as Pride and the use of trend. I personal view is if it enables a visual of the community, my family and any further representation of me. If it starts a dialogue that may never ordinarily start its worth considering.”
Apart from being the force in working to make these changes within the community Lucy also influences the next generation of designers as a lecturer at The University of the Art’s London’s College of Fashion (LCF) where she is able to impart her experiences and knowledge of the industry in helping to shape the education of the next crop of talent in fashion which is a role and responsibility that she takes very seriously.
With a number of different issues affecting the industry. There are a lot of issues and things that the new generation of designers have to deal with, as well as the nature of the industry itself being competitive and not always as glamorous as it seems.
For Lucy something that she always tells her students it to be ready “It has always been the most competitive industry. It’s a visually attractive industry to be part of. The challenges have not changed but the demand for perfection and originality has. As I tell anyone entering the industry, unless you are going to eat, drink and breath fashion, do something else!”
As the conversation with Lucy draws to a close I’m intrigued to know about what the experience of being in fashion and being creative in that sense has taught her about herself over the year and for her, it is all about not limiting herself as such has been clear from LQFS. “Don’t limit yourself. There is always an opportunity for growth. Development is not previous failure, but growth itself and I don’t need as much sleep as the average human!”
And finally, where the future of fashion is going in terms of the LGBTQ community and with that LQFS “I know the fashion future will be rich in talent and LQFS will continue to grow and create the platform for our LGBTQ+ creatives to be noticed.”
This year the London Queer Fashion Week will take place on Friday, September 20th at the Victoria & Albert Museum. For more information and where you can get tickets visit the website here and follow the show on social media @londonqueerfashionshow
Words: Seneo Mwamba