Emma Clifford
Emma is Associate Director, Food & Drink. She provides insight on the UK F&D market with a special focus on healthy eating and is regularly featured in the national media.

The hotly anticipated London Fashion Week (LFW), one of the world’s most influential and prestigious fashion industry events, returns to the capital with its autumn/winter 2012 show on Friday 17 February at Somerset House. The combination of the event’s glamour, exclusivity and its vibrant catwalk shows mean that I always get caught up in the excitement. Being one of the 28% of British women, according to our latest Women’s Fashion Lifestyles (UK) report, who like to keep up with the latest fashions, this event holds particular appeal. The media frenzy that accompanies LFW and the constant stream of updates that document and analyse every angle of the six-day event make it easy to get involved.

It is after all, a celebration of both established and emerging British talent, and strengthens London’s status as one of the ‘big four’ fashion capitals of the world. The premium clothing market is a bright spot in an otherwise fairly gloomy outlook for the UK’s high street. Many designer labels are reporting soaring sales, for example British heritage brand Burberry continues to enjoy impressive growth, and some of the biggest global brands are choosing the capital to open their flagship stores.

Looking back at the spring/summer 2012 LFW in September 2011, it was easier than ever for me to feel a part of the event, with Burberry launching a pioneering ‘tweetwalk’ livestreaming its runway show to the masses via Twitter, and posting behind the scenes photos of models just moments before they hit the catwalk. This year I’m particularly interested in seeing top fashion designer (and also one of my personal favourites) Stella McCartney’s ‘special presentation’ show on Sunday revealing the latest ‘one-off’ collection.

LWF is a window onto an exclusive world of luxury – one that is untouchable to the masses. However, excitingly, highbrow designer fashion is increasingly becoming accessible to everyday fashion lovers. For example, this week, Mary Katrantzou – one of the winners of the British Fashion Council’s 2012 Fashion Forward initiative – will unveil a capsule collection for Topshop to coincide with the start of LFW. It means that I get can do more than look and admire – I can get a dash of designer pizzazz without spending a fortune.