February | London Fashion Week

The Runway Report

From delicate plant-dyed fabrics to upcycled headphones and reworked silk wallpaper, London designers dazzled with collections that were as conscious as they were creative. Here are Calendar’s picks

Emma Sells

London Fashion Week’s AW24 offering – marking its 40th anniversary – has been energising and exciting, with a multitude of designers and brands finding innovative, thoughtful and inspiring ways to create beautiful clothes slowly and sustainably – although not as many as there could or should be.


Leading the charge before the week’s official opening was Harris Reed with a high-drama, Victoriana-inspired show that took its cue from paper dolls and shadow puppets. In a continuation of the designer’s commitment to working with deadstock, those striking luxe florals, deftly transformed by Reed into his now signature sculptural shapes, were painstakingly crafted from repurposed silk wallpaper courtesy of Fromental. Conner Ives, another inveterate upcycler, utilised everything from deadstock military fabrics to an ornate wall tapestry to dress his glamorous women. His utterly beautiful closing wedding dress was delicately embroidered with, of all things, discarded headphone cables.

Harris Reed AW24 Conner Ives AW24

L: Harris Reed AW24 R: Conner Ives AW24

Tolu Coker’s joyous collection took the street hawkers of Accra as its starting point, both for their layered, hand-me-down way of dressing and for the goods they sell. She offered slick, feminine tailoring, with neat shirt dresses in ox-blood eco leather, upcycled denim and sustainable Prince of Wales check fabrics. Ahluwalia gave us a mythical, mystical fairy tale filled with motifs drawn from nature captured in Indian and Nigerian folklore. She also unveiled a collaboration with Levi’s, reimagining some of the brand’s denim into three figure-skimming and loosely tailored looks for women and men respectively.

Tolu Coker AW24 Ahluwalia AW24

L: Tolu Coker AW24 R: Ahluwalia AW24

Paolo Carzana‘s offering was a masterclass in unexpected beauty, an otherworldly mix of plant-dyed earth tones, unfinished edges and softly draped and layered shapes. The designer, who works from the Sarabande foundation and is on the short list for this year’s LVMH prize, is fast shaping up to be one of the schedule’s most-watched and talked-about names. And, making a very welcome return to the LFW schedule, Marques’Almeida was a friends-and-family affair with the duo’s cool-meets-conscious pieces paired with multi-generational casting. The two have spent the past few years working to ensure their much-loved brand is future-proof both from environmental and business perspectives, and this season’s riffs on elegant denim, colourful brocades and luxe satin dresses marked a more grown-up and equally desirable evolution in their story.

Paolo Carzana AW24 Marques'Almeida AW24

L: Paolo Carzana AW24 R: Marques'Almeida AW24

Patrick McDowell followed last year’s collaboration with the dance company Rambert by partnering with the Guildhall School of Music & Drama for a spellbinding performance that was part classical concert, part runway show. McDowell announced earlier this month that he has restructured his label to grow more consciously; so, from this season onwards, his demi-couture pieces, conjured from recycled and sustainable fabrics, will be made to order in limited quantities and offered with a complimentary refit to ensure they’re worn and loved for a lifetime.

Completedworks AW24 Patrick McDowell AW24

L: Completedworks AW24 R: Patrick McDowell AW24

Away from the runway there were presentations of note, too. Completedworks generated headlines thanks to a cameo from Joanna Lumley, but also showcased a new offering of pitch-perfect jewellery conjured in recycled and Fairtrade materials and bags made from deadstock leather. Colville’s Lucinda Chambers and Molly Molloy showcased their bold, colourful prints and easy shapes alongside upcycled T-shirts, reworked tracksuits and eye-popping deadstock trainers created in collaboration with Diadora. And Kazna Asker cemented herself as one to watch thanks to a collection that championed the collective over hyper-individualism, offering a blend of streetwear and Middle Eastern silhouettes made to celebrate and support her community.