When it comes to fashion, London has to be one of the world’s best destinations. From thrifty shopping opportunities to designer boutiques, fashion exhibitions and shows to fashion inspired attractions, there is something to see every single day of the year if you are a lover of fashion and want to visit the city.
London Fashion Week
Possibly the biggest fashion event which takes place in London has to be fashion week. Every February and September LFW descends on the city and there are shows, exhibitions and pop-ups from some of the world’s leading designers and brands. Although you may find it tricky to obtain entry to the London Fashion Week shows, if you are determined you might want to chance your arm at the first and last shows of the days as sometimes bystanders are allowed in to fill empty seats. Alternatively, the International Fashion Showcase runs at the same time as London Fashion Week in February and showcases new and emerging designers and artists from all over the world. The International Fashion Showcase is a series of exhibitions which are free for the public to attend.
Browse at a Department Store
You may be visiting the city on a budget but that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy a spot of window shopping for the afternoon. Visit one of London’s biggest department stores such as Harvey Nichols, Selfridges or Harrods and spend an hour or two wandering around the various floors admiring the many designer items which are on sale here. The food hall in Selfridges is also pretty amazing and worth checking out and Liberty which is located on Regent Street is perfect for alternative and retro items.
Visit the V&A Museum
The Victoria and Albert Museum in Kensington has an amazing permanent fashion collection which is a real must visit for anyone with an interest in the fashion world. Being so centrally located it is easy to reach if you are staying in accommodation Near Brewery Road London City and some of the highlights displayed here include a pair of Egyptian overshoes, a 1950s evening dress from Cristóbal Balenciaga and much more besides. There are over five centuries of items represented in the V&A Fashion collecting from rare 17th-century gowns to post-war couture. There is also a regularly changing programme of special exhibitions which are often fashion-related; entry to the museum is free but occasionally there is a minimal charge for special exhibitions but these are usually well worth the money.
Attend a Workshop
The London College of Fashion has a regular programme of events, exhibitions and workshops which are perfect for discovering more about the world of fashion, particularly if you have a keen interest and it is something you are looking to move into. Perhaps you have teenagers who are contemplating a career in fashion or you might just fancy the workshop for yourself? Whatever the reason, from talks around issues such as mental health in the fashion industry to success talks from leading designers, you can see all up and coming events over on the University of the Arts London website page so you know exactly when to book your overnight stay at the Montcalm At The Brewery London City.
Lovers of vintage clothing and accessories will find that they are spoiled for choice in London. Many of the major markets have stalls selling vintage pieces including Camden Lock Market, Portobello Market and Spitalfields but there are also a couple of vintage fairs which crop up throughout the year including the Hammersmith Vintage Fashion Fair and the Clerkenwell Vintage Fashion Fair. Better yet, there are a number of vintage stores which are available and open to visit the whole year round: Beyond Retro, Absolute Vintage, East End Thrift Store and Rokit are all located in East London near to Brick Lane (there is also a popular market which takes place on Brick Lane which is worth visiting alongside these stores).
Go High Street
Of course sometimes you just can’t beat a little high street shopping and there is no better place to head in London than to the main shopping thoroughfare of Oxford Street and Regent Street. You won’t find many Londoners shopping here, mainly tourists, but if you can handle the jostling of crowds and you simply want a mass of high street stores to explore and you are working on a limited budget then you can’t do much better than Oxford Street and Regent Street. The two streets are often very pretty over the Christmas period too with plenty of twinkly lights and decorations to get you into the festive spirit although there are often even more people milling about during this time so consider yourself warned. Another great option for high street brands is Westfield Shopping Centre in Stratford although this is set a little further out of Central London; but it is indoors which has a lot going for it during the colder months in the city.
Visit the Fashion & Textile Museum
Another museum which is worth considering is the Fashion and Textile Museum, located on Bermondsey Street. Although there is an entry charge (unlike the V&A Museum) this is the place to visit if you have an interest in contemporary fashion, textiles and jewellery. The museum was founded by Zandra Rhodes and features a changing programme of exhibitions which show cutting-edge developments in the fashion industry as well as hosting courses and workshops for students. The type of exhibition you could expect to see include post-war British textiles, fashion and photography of the Jazz era and pieces from Zandra Rhodes herself. You can also find out more information about the Fashion School/Academy which is attached to the museum for anyone who has a keen interest in entering the fashion industry.