Manchester Fashion Week 2013
In its second year, Manchester Fashion Week promises to give a sizeable platform to up-and-coming designers and makers through its New Talent showcase and links to regional ambassadors
Please note: This event has now been cancelled. Here's the statement from Manchester Fashion Week:
“We would like to announce that due to circumstances beyond our control Manchester Fashion Week 2013 will no longer be taking place at the National Football Museum on 22-26th April.
“Manchester Fashion Week will still go ahead and we are already talking to venues and looking at alternative dates...”
Read the full statement here
Every fashion fan worth their salt knows about the Big Four – London, Milan, New York and Paris. But as soon as they've closed their doors (until next season anyway), another wave of less well-known but just as interesting fashion weeks begins.
Tel Aviv, Cambodia, Berlin, Tokyo – and now Manchester – are just some of the new fashion weeks that have suddenly appeared around the globe over the last few years. All are looking for a piece of the action and, hopefully, the chance to promote and support their local, up-and-coming independent designers, retailers and manufacturers.
Now in its second year, Manchester Fashion Week '13 (MCRFW13), in association with boohoo.com, will take place 22-26 April at The National Football Museum. Located in the very heart of the city centre, in part of the Urbis building, the venue will be transformed into a hub of fashionable activity, hosting 30 catwalk shows over five days, and holding 20 exhibition spaces.
Monday to Wednesday will be devoted to the High Street, with shows by the likes of Forever 21, Ted Baker, Reiss, Next, and more. Thursday – our most anticipated part of the programme – will be dedicated to 'New Talent and Education,' previewing work by Manchester College, Manchester Metropolitan University and that of smaller independent labels (at the time of going to print, those taking part are still being confirmed – exciting!). Finally, Friday will see the turn of the 'Luxury Designer' collections.
This year, Manchester Fashion Week has generously pledged to donate a percentage of exhibition and catwalk space to those new and promising independent designers and makers who are just starting out and hoping to get noticed.
Fashion Week founder Jonathan Sassen explains: "We wanted to use our position as a UK Fashion Week to provide vital help to UK independents, by becoming the only fashion festival to donate 20% of all official showcase space to them."
"This year we wanted to create a legacy" – Jonathan Sassen
"We may be regional," he adds, "but we recognise our national and international responsibility and this year we wanted to create a legacy: not just for the city but one which supports the growth of the UK fashion industry.”
These coveted places will be awarded by a panel of industry experts, following a stringent application process. The 'fashion ambassadors' include Manchester-based designer Nadine Merabi, who at the age of 30 has already shown a collection during London Fashion Week, has her garments stocked in Selfridges and has dressed many well-known names within the music and TV industries. Merabi is passionate about the 'New Talent' section of the MCRFW13 schedule and praises Manchester for its "100% support" of her creative business and those like it.
"Fashion is not an easy industry but if you have a good work ethic, show complete commitment and have talent, you can make it," she says.
Jo Davies of much acclaimed local boutique, Black White Denim (named as Drapers' fourth most Inspiring Independent Boutique in 2013 and Leader of the Year in the Everywoman in Retail Awards 2012), has also been working with MCRFW13 in support of the event. “Manchester Fashion Week helps to put the Northwest shopping scene well and truly on the map!” she says.
Davies will also help to select work for the New Talent show, citing "self-belief, good listening skills, creative talent and patience" as essential qualities of young designers who are just starting out. Garment-wise, she is looking for "longevity in fit, style, colour and fabrication."
Another talented lady who will be working as a 'fashion ambassador' for MCRFW13 is textile designer, illustrator and all-round print genius Lisa Stannard. Northern lass Stannard currently designs for LA-based label Whitney Port, freelances for brands such as Nike, Oasis and Miss Selfridge and lectures at Manchester School of Art, so is extremely qualified to impart knowledge to those with dreams of starting a career in the business. Her tips for success? “Work hard, network, have big dreams and take care of your website and online presence: it is the easiest way for people to find you.”
She adds: "Be nice to people!"
In short, regional fashion weeks are springing up everywhere and can be many things – some good, some bad, some niche, some commercial. The nature of the fashion week depends on the personality and the culture of the city that hosts it. We have every hope that Manchester Fashion Week '13 will be supportive of the local creative community and its up-and-coming talent, and will prove an event not to be missed.