In three weeks in September 2018, the UK capital came alive with design and fashion as the London Design Biennale, Design and Fashion Week all showcased a wide variety of creative and commercial work.
Both London Fashion Week and Festival 14– 24 Setpember and London Design Festival fell on 14–23 September 2018 shining the spotlight on the incredible value of the UK's Design Economy, recently valued at £85.2 billion to the economy. Meanwhile, the London Design Biennale took place around them at Somerset House on 4–23 September.
London Design Biennale's interactive pavilions, contributed by 40 countries, citiesa and territories all dealing with the topic 'Emotional States', were huge draws for visitors. Highlights include Shpeel by Bime Collective in Dundee, whose installation encouraged young people to share their emotions via gaming techniques, an avatar and 360 sound and animation, investigating whether video games can help with discussions around mental health. Forensic Architecture's Maps of Defiance used software to build 3D models of land destroyed by Daesh / Islamic State, proving how design can help with investigation.
London Design Festival featured work in a myriad of locations across the city, split into 'Design Districts' and 'Design Destinations'. Works include from recent Expo 2020 Dubai UK Pavilion design winner and set designer for Kanye West, Beyoncé, U2 and numerous theatres, Es Devlin (Please Feed the Lions in Trafalgar Square); a collaboration of music and design with Estonian modern composer Arvo Pärt (Memory and Light); and festivcal commission Electroanalogue, exporing the realms of digital technology with designers and sound artists.
London Fashion Week Festival saw a vast array of intriguing concepts and designs for the Spring Summer 2019 collections, including London-based Micol Ragni, an Italian designer whose costumes for Björk, Rihanna and Erykah Badu informed the designs based around natural formations; British designer Gareth Pugh's take on 'societal outcasts' and dedicated his show to friend, stylist and punk icon Judy Blame; and the work of Saint Martin's alumni at Fashion East including Charlotte Knowles, ASAI and Yuhan Wang.
The flurry of activity around these Design Economy showcases sought to show the relevance of the UK's up-and-coming and established designers alongside the world's brightest sparks paving the way for further collaboration while highlighting the top tier of creativity that the UK lives in.