Row over Fashion Week on Yom Kippur

By Jan Shure, Fashion Editor, July 15, 2010

A leading fashion editor has criticised the British Fashion Council for the scheduling of some 20 catwalk shows on Yom Kippur, declaring that she will not attend a key event because it coincides with the end of the fast.

Suzy Menkes, influential fashion director of the Paris-based International Herald Tribune, said: “I am sad that the British Fashion Council ignores entirely the importance of Yom Kippur to the many Jewish people who are involved in the fashion trade.”

Her comments followed the release today (July 15) of the provisional schedules for London Fashion Week, which runs from September 17 to 22. LFW incorporates both an exhibition and six days of catwalk shows. In previous years, because of pressure on the calendar from the show schedules of the other major fashion capitals, Paris, Milan and New York, LFW has spilled across Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, but key collections have never been shown on the first day of the New Year or Yom Kippur.
Designers showing on Yom Kippur include House of Holland, John Rocha, Charles Anastase and the directional Fashion Fringe event where the work of new, young designers is unveiled.

Ms Menkes added: “I am especially shocked that the Fashion Fringe event is scheduled for the time of the breaking of the Fast. I myself will not be attending the shows on Yom Kippur. The International Herald Tribune will try its best to cover collections on that day. But why should Jewish people have to make this personal decision, which will no doubt turn into a public tabloid debate?”

Ms Menkes also noted that in her “three decades in fashion I have never known a show in any part of the world to be scheduled on Easter Sunday or Monday.”

Lisa Armstrong, fashion editor of the Times, said:“It's a real shame, as there are some good shows on the 18th and some designers may miss out.

"But with London being squeezed so tightly at both ends by New York and Milan it would be unrealistic to expect it to miss out a day of shows.

"The upside is the internet - editors and buyers who skip the Saturday for religious reasons can catch it all online and see it up close in the showrooms."

A spokesperson for the British Fashion Council said “Yom Kippur, along with Rosh Hashanah, falls each year during either New York, London, Milan or Paris fashion week. It is unfortunate that there is always a clash and it is London's turn this year.

“We have a very short window of opportunity to promote our designers during the dates we are allocated, which are fixed as part of an international framework. Whilst we realize this is very unfortunate, anyone in the industry will know we have more designers than ever before that need to be accommodated on the catwalk schedule to allow us to champion the incredible creative talent that we have here in London.”

Last updated: 9:37am, July 20 2010