WITH eight trade shows a year, there are no equivalents to the fashion industry. I can hardly believe it’s time again for London to be invaded by the world’s fashionistas; it feels like two seconds ago that I was bashing my way through the crowds in February to see quilted jackets, gothic flowers and zebra prints.

The sheer enormity of the fashion machine is astonishing. Trade shows and expos are understandable, but where everyone else makes do with the Excel Centre and Earl’s Court once a year (ok, everyone except the art and publishing industries), fashion commands the biggest and best buildings in New York, London, Paris and Milan not once but twice a year. The airmiles alone are enough to turn all those fashionable green liberals into flaming hypocrites.

What is the point of it all? Ostensibly, to show next season’s looks so that the industry can get them on the shop floors. But for everyone apart from buyers, editors, models and the super-rich, this notion is irrelevant. Most people have neither the time, inclination or cash to change their wardrobe twice a year every year, chucking the tweed you just had to have last year for the now-ubiquitous camel, binning the flowing boho dresses of last summer for the city-slicking miniskirts to come. Normal people, I think, would be happier to be served with a better fit of jeans, more breathable fabrics, zips that don’t break and durable jackets that don’t fray after a few washes.

Fashion – unlike, say, wine – is entirely circular and inward-looking, driving itself forward in a bonfire of the vanities. Yet for all that, there’s no glamour like fashion glamour and no feeling better than turning up to a party looking bang on style. Such satisfaction, at least, is some justification for the circus that is the rest. Fashion Week starts today and runs until 22 Sep. http://www.londonfashionweek.co.uk.