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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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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

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