London Fashion Week #LFW is about to hit the capital once again. As the annual circus of style rolls through from New York, before going on to Milan and Paris, you can almost feel the fashionable tension building. While more of us have access to designer runways this year thanks to live streams and Instagram, getting your hands on the looks is another question entirely. The season showing this September is Spring/Summer 2017 (fashion is always six months ahead). But where can you get your hands on the catwalk look without paying four figure designer prices?
The high street
There’s no doubt that many of the looks on the fashion week catwalks trickle down to the high street. Right now, for example, there are capes, Prince of Wales checks and duvet coats arriving for autumn. All of these were everywhere during fashion week in February. Shops such as Topshop are renowned for their catwalk edits. In fact, Topshop is one of the few high street brands to have a catwalk show during fashion week so it’s one to keep an eye on. Stores such as &OtherStories and big chains like Urban Outfitters also offer catwalk style without the designer labels.
Increasing numbers of us shop for fashion online and this is often where the best discounts are to be found. Net-a-Porter is the obvious choice for full price designer fashion. Its sister brand The Outnet is an outlet site with designer fashion at a serious discount. ASOS is another reliable option for cheaper versions of designer looks. This is a site that started out by offering replicas of what famous women were wearing (the name means As Seen On Screen). Given this heritage you won’t be surprised to find a huge number of trends make an appearance on its pages. Yoox is another great place to find the fashion that you like without the huge price tag. And if you want to make sure an item isn’t being sold for less elsewhere then search it on Lyst.
Vintage clothing markets are already tried and tested when it comes to finding classic wardrobe pieces. However, many up and coming designers also take their wares to a market such as Portobello or Camden. These newer designers are as influenced by trends as anyone else and you could find a treasure trove of trend-driven styles at half the cost of a catwalk piece.
The option to buy via Instagram is something relatively new. However, many fashion brands are starting to pioneer this, given the vast number of customers that can potentially be reached. This is especially the case for unknown designers who may be producing up to the minute designs but not have the reputation yet to charge the earth for them. It’s also worth keeping an eye on Instagram during fashion week itself. Some more established labels are starting to offer instant purchase via Instagram. This is relatively new as most catwalk fashion isn’t available for six months after the show. However, look out for the ‘buy now’ button on catwalk videos or images, as there are often discounts for early adopters.
Magazines and magazine sites
Finding the latest fashion at a discount is like the Holy Grail if you love what you wear. It’s also quite difficult to do – otherwise everyone would be at it. Magazines such as Vogue offer a ‘More Dash Than Cash’ selection of items that hit all the right trend notes but don’t cost the earth. Although this is a regular feature in the magazine there is often an extended supplement after the shows have taken place. It’s worth buying this, as it will guide you to cheaper versions of the looks you liked from the shows. Other publications rely on ‘skinted and minted,’ comparing the original designer item at the high price tag, against a more affordable identical piece.
Fashion bloggers such as The Frugality have become incredibly popular thanks to their ability to find budget versions of catwalk fashion. It’s worth following a number of fashion bloggers. They can not only provide wardrobe inspiration but also where to find the key seasonal pieces for less. Many fashion bloggers and fashion influencers on Instagram are now lucky enough to have made a career from an eye for great style. Building up a small group that you check in with regularly can make it easy to be fashionable for less. A few of the best known bloggers and influencers include Man Repeller, WishWishWish and Coco’s Tea Party.
Alex Hartley is a keen advocate of improving personal finance skills. She's worked at Solution Loans since 2014 and written hundreds of articles about how people can manage their money better. Her interest in personal finance goes way back to...Read more about Alex Hartley