Vogue World wowed but won’t pay the wages of young fashion designers

The giveaway was that it started with a fundraiser. Although, if you’ve seen any of the photos from last week’s star-studded Vogue World, you’ll know that this was no bake sale. Featuring performances from FKA Twigs, Sienna Miller, Damian Lewis, Stormzy, and many, many more, the West End-inspired extravaganza was held to celebrate and raise money for the UK’s performing arts scene, which American Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour described as “under threat”.

Ostensibly, it was a brilliant showcase of glamour attracting the likes of Kate Moss and Cara Delevingne, alongside Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington, Linda Evangelista, and Cindy Crawford in a tribute to the original 1990s supermodels. And with the shows came A-list celebrities, with this year proving to be a vintage year for star spotting. But underneath all those blow-dries and bespoke designer ensembles was a very bleak reality: this is an industry in need of urgent life support.

It’s a tacit cry that has undercut almost every show on this season’s lineup, let alone those that didn’t quite make it onto the schedule at all. For spring/summer 2024, London has borne the brunt of a spate of absences, with key designers like Halpern, SS Daley, Rixo, Rejina Pyo, and Nensi Dojaka all taking some time out. Meanwhile, two former bright lights in the industry, Christopher Kane and Nicholas Kirkwood, filed for bankruptcy this year.

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