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MFAlogo MFA 2013

This year I finally got around to attending the Midlands Fashion Awards in Birmingham, 5 years after it’s inauguration. The key aim of the Awards to to help and promote emerging fashion and accessory designers within the Midlands area, as well as to inspire new talent and enterprises.

I have been following MFA for a few years now and have spoken a couple of times with the Founder and Managing Directory of the event Jenny Eason (who is an absolute inspiration and role model in herself). This year I sensed a huge shift in the Awards presence and status. First of all it moved from the beautiful, but out-of-town venue of Birmingham’s Botanical Garden’s, to a plush but more intimate feeling venue in Birmingham’s City Centre – the Penthouse Suite in the Loft Lounge. The easy accessibility of this venue would, I am sure, have attracted more visitors, including myself.

Secondly, tickets sold out about a week before the event was due to take place – always a good sign!

And thirdly, there was a much more organised and specifically themed presence on the Social Networks. Twitter in particular seemed very well considered and planned; there wasn’t a constant bombardment of information or pushy sales chatter (this in my opinion is a definite positive).

So a combination of all 3 points created a good buzz around the event.

The show itself was well structured and choreographed nicely. The runway was long and floor level – good for the front rowers and end of runway photographers, not so great for anyone on rows further back unfortunately. However, the production team may have predicted this lack of visual as they live streamed the show on monitors around the room. Not the same as seeing the models and designs first hand, but useful none-the-less.

There were some well thought out creations and designs being showcased with a nice variety of garment, cut, pattern and structure. Mostly womenswear was presented with a small collection of menswear from Catalyst by Tamara Joseph (http://www.tamarajoseph.co.uk).  Would have been good to see more menswear – maybe next year?

Young Designer Award

The winner of the Young Designer section was awarded to Sarah King who showed us some earthy and rustic designs of interesting cut and silhouette, inspired from the weathering processes on plant life. The four outfits we saw were wearable and looked of good construction with toned down hues for the Autumn/Winter season.

Incidentally, I was sat next to her parents and when she was announced as winner they were endearingly shocked, but incredible excited for their Daughter – it was a pleasure to witness that reaction.

Independent Designer Award

Fazane Malik (http://www.fazanemalik.co.uk) was the well deserved winner of this category, displaying some skilled and elegant tailoring in her collection of catsuits, dresses and sheer shirts, all trimmed in various ways with her signature cross-hatch pattern. Fazane’s designs are incredible wearable with a hint of masculine cut but always maintaining femininity.

MFA 2014

I can only see a positive future for Midlands Fashion Awards. Next year will hopefully be even more well attended, showcasing a new selection of emerging designers who push the boundaries of tailoring, design, printmaking and creativeness.  I for one will look forward to it.

Thank you.

Photos and reports:

www.midlandsfashionawards.co.uk

http://www.professionalphotography.me.uk

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#FNO

On almost a whim I went down to London after work on Thursday 6th September for Vogue Fashion’s Night Out. I’d applied for tickets for the Alexander McQueen Party and thought it is an opportunity not to be missed. So I hopped on the train for a fleeting visit to our amazing capital.

FNO, an event that supports the charity Refuge, has been running for 3 years now and has become a key date in the fashion calendar – with many cities across the world taking part hosting their own events. It’s a celebration of fashion and retail, but also of food and drink and music all mixing together to generate an exciting spectacle of fashion, creativity and fun.

I headed straight to Regent Street to take a look in Cos. Those who know me, know that it would be virtually impossible for me to go to London and not pay a visit to Cos! (I bought a few things…) Oh and enjoyed my fist two glasses of champagne of the evening too… :)

There was already a real buzz of excitement around this whole area; Regent Street, Conduit Street, Bond Street and Old Bond Street. Queue’s were forming outside many stores and boutiques, with expectant groups hoping to see some new product previews, enter competitions for some truly fabulous prizes, to take advantage of offers and discounts offered and generally to soak up the atmosphere alongside thousands of like-minded people all out to celebrate fashion.

Venturing over to Old Bond Street, you could feel the buzz growing – bands playing, music blaring and crowds gathering. The street was shut off with carpet laid out, a Burlesque Band and performers were parading down the street who then went on to perform throughout Burlington Arcade. I actually got goose bumps walking down Old Bond Street – it really made me smile. The atmosphere was ace. I stared in astonishment at the queue for Alexander McQueen which spanned the length of the street. I thought I had to at least try to get in to the store so I queued for 30 mins or so – however I knew I would have been there all night and there were other places I wanted to go.

So I walked over to Covent Garden to go to the Opening Ceremony pop up store and their Korean themed street party. SUCH a cool place! Great music and an awesome collection of clothes including an ace Gitman Bros shirt..! Met some great people – all seemingly of the same enthusiasm and excitement for the night.

I was only down there for 3 hours or so but I was totally enraptured by the whole event. I absolutely loved it! Next year I will spend more time there for sure and will try to get as many people to come with me as possible – for I am certain they would enjoy it as much as I did.

What a fantastic concept though – for most people the world of fashion is experienced mainly through high street and online shopping, and magazines, which although inspiring and exciting in their own way, do not actually ‘involve’ you a massive amount. However Vogue’s Fashion’s Night Out allows everyone to join in and be part of the celebration of Fashion. Just brilliant.

So who is coming with me next year?? 

Vogue Fashion Night Out

Alexander McQueen

Opening Ceremony

Fashion and the Fashion Film

I watch quite a number fashion videos. Most of them are ace; well written, well directed, amazing cinematography and of course beautiful styling and clothes.

I love how the fashion industry has crossed the border in to film. I think it was only a matter of time until this happened The runway shows are films in themselves and there is SO MUCH much creativity and imagination within the industry that it is therefore only natural that the designers and design houses create specific videos and films to showcase their collections.

 

Prada – A Therapy by Roman Polanski

Movies and movies stars combine to show their love for Prada. Stunning clothes, awesome actors (Helena Bonham Carter and Ben Kingsley) . This is just fantastic! No other words…

 

 

 

 

Chanel Haute Couture A/W 2012 by Trevor Undi

This film is one of the best I have seen. It is actually a runway show, but as I said above these shows are complete and thorough presentations and works of art in themselves. I absolutely love the hard editing, the sound, the music, the lighting… Superb!

Watch it via Business of Fashion:

Marwood

This kind of follows on from The Tux and The Woman post, or at least links back to it.

So in the photo of myself I was wearing a lace tie from Marwood. And it is Marwood that I wish to write about today.

Simply, Marwood make and supply the most exquisite ties you will have seen. Each tie using traditional English lace woven to form unexpected and intricate contrasts in colour and pattern against the English silk or cotton linings.

Their first collection was launched in January 2011 and they have since produced two more ranges for 2012 – each getting better and better with subtle variances of design.

The range has been slowing expanding over the last few years and they are stocked in some great stores across the world including Liberty UK, Harvey Nichols Hong Kong, Barney’s New York and Alureville Tokyo. Soon to be launching their own online store mid September.

What I love most about their ties is how beautifully woven the silk designs are, creating gorgeous patterns unique to anything else I have seen before. Ties that are suited for both men and women. This I can say with confidence – I own two of their ties, one of which was borrowed by a friend of mine for a wedding he was attending. He looked extremely handsome and stylish indeed!

I seek out occasions in which to wear the ties as they are too good to be shut away in the wardrobe. They need to be worn with pride and they really do draw attention and comment.

They are stunning.

http://www.marwoodlondon.co.uk

I’m a bit delayed in writing about this, however here it is eventually… :)

So I attended the Midlands Fashion (MFDA) pre-show Networking Soiree last thursday evening at Sirlings Bar in Birmingham. Having never attended anything like this before I had no idea to what expect, however the Twitter feeds coming through from them MFDA sounded friendly and exciting so I was hoping the event would have the same feel.

I wasn’t wrong.

The event was relaxed and informal, which I believe was a good thing as it helped conversation beyond the obvious pleasantries. The venue was a good choice also – a cool, sophisticated place located just off St.Pauls Square.

One observation I had was that there didn’t seem a huge amount of networking happening – most people seemed to be standing in their known pairs or groups. Now I know it is up to the individuals to network, but as this the first networking event MFDA had held, may be the MFDA reps could have assisted this by moving from group to group, forming associations and introductions? Just to help things along a bit. Just a thought :)

One more little bit of feedback for next years event – a little more structure would have been beneficial – just in the form of announcement of when the short fashion show was about to start. Also as the models walked through some presented information of the designs, the designer and maybe gesture to their presence, if they were there, would have been nice.

All in all it was an interesting and different night. I met with a number of the designers nominated for this years finals – it was encouraging to hear how keen and excited they were.

The MFDA is a good and positive thing. Fashion is a hard industry to breaking to, and what MFDA are offering is that little helping hand for new and aspiring designers in the Midlands, to showcase their work. Also offering them the opportunity to meet with members of the industry – any of whom could prove to be their second step forward in to the fashion business.

One of the finalist in particular, Faye Teresa, a print textile designer, was so humble and appreciative of the opportunity that in my mind, it convinced me that the people at MFDA are doing a good job and that the awards are offering great opportunities.

Very worth while.

I look forward to the main awards on 19th October.

By tickets here: http://mfdafashionshowcase2012.eventbrite.com

MFDA
http://www.myfashiondesigners.co.uk
@MidlandsFashion

Stirlings Bar
www.stirlingsbar.co.uk
@Stirlings_Bar

I think one of the most glorious things a woman can do in fashion, with their style, is to be entirely content and confident with their femininity and sexuality to wear masculine and androgynous type clothing.

The epitome of this is a women wearing a tuxedo. Really, a tuxedo is absolute masculinity; he sharp, clean lines of a tailored tux is constructed to show a mans shape, to make them stand powerful and protective. For a woman wearing a tuxedo she has to have the confidence to be able to stand tall and feminine alongside these men.

The Brilliance of Yves Saint Laurent

Saint Laurent is the genius we need to thank for introducing the world to the women’s androgynous tux. In 1966, at his couture show, a model was sent down the catwalk in his ‘Le Smoking’ tuxedo. It comprised of velvet trim black pantsuit, white shirt with ruffled cuffs, complimented with a large black bow tie and high-heeled black satin boots. ‘Le Smoking’ became iconic.

The Helmet Newton 2004 photo for French Vogue encapsulated this look. A photo that has been reproduced and reused many many times. It is one of my most favourite fashion photos.

Unquestionable Femininity

Keira Knightley did a shoot for Elle magazine back in 2008, where she sported a mink jacket, wide legged satin pants and waistcoat, white shirt (all by Hermes), a white bow tie, two-tone wing-tip brogues (Church’s) and a Patricia Underwood wool hat to complete the look. It is a stunning shot and stunning styling.

True Style

Janelle Monae. Style icon? I think so. Janelle dresses her signature tuxedo-type suiting impeccably. She varies this style effortlessly making it look the same, but not the same, alternating ruffle neck blouses, crisp white shirts, braces, classic bow tie, ladies bow ties, reverse colour combinations, but almost always opting for classic black and white. Just brilliant.

http://www.jmonae.com

The Novice

Having loved this look for so long, I decided try it for myself for a party last year. I nearly faltered at the last moment and wore a dress, however I thankfully regained my confidence in time. My outfit definitely did not comprise of couture designers, instead I wore H&M velvet jacket, Nicole Farhi trousers, Reiss shirt, Marwood lace tie, and Kurt Geiger patent leather high-heeled shoes. I looked different to everyone else. And do you know what? I felt amazing – I don’t think I had ever held myself so well. It is the best outfit I have ever worn.

The women’s tuxedo will never go out of fashion. Try it.

Confidence, sexuality and femininity. It is a powerful combination.

xx

LOVE

Just bought issue 8 of Love Magazine – their Autumn/Winter 2012 edition.

This is the only magazine I buy and I am more than happy to wait 6 months in between issues – it is well worth the wait…

LOVE is such a balanced, considered, provocative & indulgent publication. The fashion, art and creativeness on display is sumptuous, making you want to be part of that world.

Katie Grand is an incredible magazine and fashion editor. The content, ideas and design she imagines are inspiring. I like that she is not conventional. Boundaries are pushed. Also that she is not afraid to shock at times.

Each issue is a real bible of fashion, art and photography. And before you even reach the content you are invited to admire the wonderful campaigns from the very best designers. The whole issue is such a treat.

If you enjoy creativity of any sort, even just a little bit, then go and buy LOVE and fall in to the beauty.
http://www.thelovemagazine.co.uk

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