Fashion Bite for On|Off

On|Off director Lee Lapthorne outlines his vision for On|Off

Lee Lapthorne, On|Off director This season, On|Off moved venues from Victoria House to Mercer Street, Covent Garden, after a strategic decision by On|Off director Lee Lapthorne to make the event a more exclusive platform to showcase both on and off schedule designers during London Fashion Week.

Lapthorne explains: "On|Off was a huge success at Victoria House, and that has been fantastic for us. But I think in terms of our philosophy and moving forward, after reviewing the size of our operation, I believe that the future of fashion week is to become more exclusive.

"We've always created huge events during London Fashion Week and we've become renowned for this. But whilst other venues get bigger and bigger and more commercial, I question who actually comes to these events. For instance, why should we be allowing the likes of trend agencies into shows so they can photograph designers' work and dictate commercial trends for the high street just to copy? Young designers trying to create a business and sell their work need to be protected and I'd like to look at how we can support this. Whilst larger businesses like Burberry have the infrastructure to out wit the high street by selling directly to the public whilst live streaming their shows, young designers struggle to establish themselves in an over saturated market.

"I've been talking to lots of people recently, including journalists and people who work for Paris Fashion Week, and there is an underground revolt happening at the moment. We should be looking to protect young designers' integrity and stop their designs from being copied all over the high street. It may take a while for the designers' and PR's to understand this, but we are making positive changes.

"It wasn't that Victoria House was unavailable to us and the decision to move has had no relation to financial constraints, it has to do with the philosophy of On|Off and the belief that we should be looking at quality of attendees at fashion week shows, rather than quantity.

"When On|Off started, we really influenced the industry and we were even seen as a thorn in the side of the establishment. We helped to instigate change and we want to go back to that. The future for On|Off is to maintain this niche and it is really important for us to hold on to our aesthetic."