Updated: Friday, 14 February 2014 21:42 | By Agence France-Presse

Burberry and wellie boots at London Fashion Week

London Fashion Week opened on Friday with up-and-coming designers set to rub shoulders over the next five days with established names like Vivienne Westwood and Burberry -- and Hunter Wellington boots.


Burberry and wellie boots at London Fashion Week

Models present creations from the J JS Lee collection during the 2014 Autumn/Winter London Fashion Week on February 14, 2014 - by Andrew Cowie

Hot on the heels of the New York autumn-winter 2014 shows, 77 designers will show their latest creations around the British capital.

More than 5,000 buyers, journalists and bloggers from 48 countries are expected to attend the shows in London, which generates more than £100 million (120 million euros, $167 million) in orders, according to the British Fashion Council.

Alongside the big names, London will showcase the collection by trendy British wellie boot maker Hunter, a timely reminder that outside the fashion bubble much of the rest of England is being battered by storms and deluged by floods.

"With the British weather, of course this focus on rainwear is certainly of the moment," Caroline Rush, British Fashion Council chief executive, told AFP.

The ready-to-wear Hunter Original collection, under the stewardship of Stella McCartney's husband Alasdhair Willis as creative director, will be full of surprises, Rush promised.

"It's not all about the wellies, but you'll have to wait until Saturday," she said.

The opening day's catwalks focused on the work of graduates of Central St Martins, the London school that is a conveyor belt of fashion talent.

South Korea's J. JS Lee and the Felder Felder sisters from Germany kicked off the shows.

- Future global brands -

Despite the buzz around emerging stars, Rush said the international focus would be on "the whole cohort of future global fashion brands", citing Christopher Kane, a label snapped up by Kering group, and J. W. Anderson, who has signed a deal with the LVMH luxury brands giant.

"Those deals in the past couple of years have really helped cement the understanding that there is opportunity for growth and investment in young British businesses," Rush said.

The fashion industry is worth £21 billion to the British economy and employs more than 800,000 people, the BFC estimates.

One major contributor is Topshop, the brand that is riding the crest of a wave with a new store opening on New York's Fifth Avenue and Kate Moss's latest collection hitting the shops within weeks.

Its eagerly awaited catwalk show by its top-end line Unique, drawing on floral prints and school uniforms, takes place on Sunday.

In the constant search for innovation, the London Fashion Week organisers are fielding thousands of requests from fashion bloggers, an increasingly important sector -- they received 2,000 last year alone.

"Blogging is something that is something that is still relatively new, so we're seeing a steady growth from the international press that comes to London... but it's balancing that with this new wave of social media and online media coming through," Rush said.

"It's about finding those with the right kind of opinion and with the right kind of audience that is going to be relevant to the designers they'll see."

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