Victoria Park will host Burberry's runway event for London Fashion Week 2024
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Burberry to hold London Fashion Week catwalk in Victoria Park

Burberry’s autumn/winter collection for London Fashion Week’s 40th birthday will debut at a catwalk event in Victoria Park on Monday 19 February.

Regular visitors of Victoria Park will no doubt have noticed the appearance of a large, eight-mast blue and black marquee in the park near the Royal Inn entrance. 

The build for this vast structure started on 5 February in preparation for Burberry’s runway show for London Fashion Week 2024. 

The private catwalk event takes place on Monday 19 February at 7 pm, east of Grove Road and north of Old Ford Road in a fenced-off area. 

Burberry, the British luxury fashion house established in 1856, will showcase its autumn/winter collection under the leadership of chief creative officer Daniel Lee.

The luxury retailer is best known for its distinctive check pattern, known as the Burberry check, which has lined its trench coats since the 1920s. There are several variations of the Burberry tartan, but the most recognisable iteration features black, white and cream intersecting stripes. 

The fashion house has a historic relationship with East London, having run a factory in Chatham Place, Hackney from 1953 until 1991. Now, the former factory is split into residential and retail space and includes a low-profile Burberry outlet store offering timeless designer wares for significant discounts. 

On Thursday 18 January, Burberry released its autumn pre-collection – a midseason drop of wearable designs before the main collection debuts at London Fashion Week.

The pre-collection is ‘rooted in British culture – its archetypes, iconography and people’, said Burberry, featuring shearling aviator jackets, long-cut trenches in silk twill, equestrian stirrup boots and high-neck sweaters in mohair wool. 

In preparation for the upcoming runway show, building work commenced in Victoria Park on Monday 5 February. Until Friday 1 March, the Lido Field and the Lido Car Park on Grove Road will be inaccessible to the public but all other areas of the park will remain open.

In recent months, residents have raised concerns following Tower Hamlets Council’s decision in November 2023 to increase the number of major events in Victoria Park from 10 to 12 per year as a way to generate income. 

In January, a petition calling against the policy signed by more than 160 residents was presented to the council, raising concerns about the environmental impact on the park as a local green space. 

The organisers of All Points East, a popular music festival that has seen the likes of Stormzy and Björk headline in the past, have applied for a new licence with the council following the updated events policy. If the licence is approved, the festival organisers will have permission to almost double their event days in the park, from 10 to 19 a year. 

In light of concerns about the negative impact of large events in Victoria Park, we canvased local opinion in the run-up to Burberry’s catwalk. After reaching out to local readers, this is a selection of viewpoints.

Richard Desmond, from the community group Victoria Park Friends, said: ‘It is by park standards a small event, we have had Radiohead in a similar size tent, and Singapore Day had an enclosure in the same space.

‘I would hope they are using the clean power supply put in the car park for its regular use as a location base. It is the sort of commercial event I have no objection to.’

Local resident Lorraine Godber said: ‘I have lived close to Victoria Park all my life and it’s a godsend to local people especially those in flats! The Fashion Week event can only be a good thing for locals to attend and will obviously attract new people to the area too, so that’s great! 

‘It’s not that disruptive either as the park is vast. The only thing is everyone needs to take their litter home and we should be told what happens to all the revenue from the event…it needs to go back into the upkeep of the park – not sure that happens.’ 

Ashkin Yolsal, a former fashion student who lives by the park, said she’s ‘chuffed one of the shows is on my doorstep’. She added:

‘I love it. And I’m often proud and fortunate I have this on my doorstep. I’m a regular runner in the park – definitely don’t believe the park is just for enjoying a walk and the grass.’

While most residents seem to welcome the event, some have raised concerns about the length of time the Lido Field will remain inaccessible to the public for a one-day, private event. 

Mandy Brown, who lives in Tower Hamlets, said: ‘It’s not fine. It’s an event not open to park users. There’s no transparency about where the money is going to. And I believe the structure is there for many days after it’s been used for the fashion event.’

For Pat Turner, another local resident, ‘the park should not be used for exclusive events that take up park space for weeks on end at all’. She added: ‘This event lasts for three weeks including preparation and dismantling.

‘The practice of hiring out parks has spread since the government robbed local councils of funding. The government needs to reinstate the funding so that councils aren’t cutting services and yet still scraping around for cash.’

Sam Willis, who lives near Roman Road Market, said: ‘It’s such a tiny, relatively unused bit of the park, especially at this time of the year. With how cash-starved all local councils are, I don’t see how this can be seen as a bad thing.’

For more local news, read New Asda Express convenience store opens up on Bow Road.

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