Think Britain. Think British fashion. And, somewhere in between those thoughts, we’re guessing that the ‘L’ word came to mind? No?
Call it what you want but there’s no denying that London is by definition, the fashion capital of Britain, if not arguably the world. From Topshop to Twiggy, Fashion Week to Kate Moss and Carnaby Street… London has without doubt made its calling on the UK style scene.
But, ask any Briton residing in a postcode north (and perhaps slightly west) of the nation’s capital and they’ll argue that it’s the cities that make up the rest of Britain, that hold responsible for most of the success for fashion in the UK.
A night out with Vogue
For the first time ever back in 2013, the Vogue team aka THE forerunners of fashion channeled in on a similar brainwave, swapping London’s Hackney cabs in favour of the cobbled streets of Manchester, as the city took on the role of honorable host for the annual Vogue Fashion Night Out.
Attended by Manchester’s very own design elite including Matthew Williamson and Henry Holland; the event was initially created by Vogue to boost the retail economy and improve footfall by enticing shoppers into stores with celebrity appearances and special offers.
Overall the night proved a tremendous success with an average 118% shopper increase, as well as providing a chance for the crème de la crème of Manchester’s independent boutiques and commercial retailers to show London just what Northerners are really made of.
Pre-event, Vogue Editor Alexandra Shulman claimed “Manchester’s importance to fashion is unquestionable. London has witnessed tens of thousands of shoppers joining the fun and [hosting in Manchester] is the next logical step.”
Made In Scotland
Contrary to popular belief ‘Scotland the Brave’ is so much more than just a bunch of even braver Scots sporting their clan’s tartan kilts (sans undercrackers).
Exporters of rich and desirable textiles such as cashmere and Harris Tweed; Scotland is a breeding ground not only for luxury fabric but fashion innovators.
Saint Martins graduates but Scots through and through, world-famous designers Jonathan Saunders and Christopher Kane have been shaping the global and British fashion industry since the early 00’s with their compelling designs and forward-thinking.
Both having won prestigious design awards at the Scottish Fashion Awards, as well as gaining worldwide critical acclaim, have paved the way for a new legion of Scottish fashion talent and helped put the country well and truly onto the style map.
You’ve Got Mail
Thinking of spending a little post-Christmas cheer among the sales? Of course you are. It all just depends on exactly where you’re going to do it, so let’s give you a little hint…
Dubbed Britain’s answer to Rodeo Drive, The Mailbox is Birmingham’s and indeed the Midland’s premier shopping destination. Holding an abundance of luxury designer boutiques and exclusive retailers from Emporio Armani to Harvey Nichols; the former Royal Mail sorting office has been masterfully redesigned and redeveloped to offer customers the ultimate sophisticated shopping experience.
British supermodels have been making waves throughout the fashion world for decades. Twiggy? Well, she defined the 60s ‘mod’. Naomi Campbell went and changed the way Vogue choose their cover stars and it was thanks to Jane Birkin that Hermès conceived their most iconic bag back in 1981.
Today, Plymouth-born and current Christopher Bailey muse Rosie Huntington-Whiteley is soaking up the limelight. With appearances in major Hollywood blockbusters and a best-selling lingerie line, the Burberry campaign star ranked in an estimated $5 million dollar just in the last year alone.
Her royal highness the Queen, or rather Dame, of quintessential British fashion is non other than renowned English (and Northern) designer Vivienne Westwood.
Largely responsible for steering the punk movement into mainstream fashion; Vivienne incorporates both her unconventional style sense and fearlessness into more than just her sartorial designs. Twice named British Designer of the Year and receiver of an esteemed O.B.E.; Westwood supports numerous charitable causes from Greenpeace to PETA and isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty doing so.
Great Britain is a great big treasure trove of vintage goodies. From the infamous ‘Snoopers Paradise’ and its hoards of well, simply everything, hiding in the Lanes in Brighton, to Armstrong’s, better known as Britain’s largest vintage paradise up in Edinburgh.
If you’re in the mood for a good old rifle, then be sure to make no room for disappointment.
Earlier this year, celebrated designer and local Northern Irish lad, J.W. Anderson beat off some very strong competition (think Victoria Beckham…) to bag himself not one but two British Fashion Awards.
Taking the crown for both Menswear and Womenswear Designer of the Year; Anderson’s name was established only as far back as 2008, after the designer debuted his standout collection of innovative and unique designs at LFW.
Today, J.W. Anderson has evolved into an internationally renowned and critically acclaimed name, with Jonathan also taking the lead role as Creative Director for Spanish luxury brand Loewe. Not bad for a boy from County Derry right?
Graduate Fashion Week
Graduate Fashion Week. One of, if not the most, important week in any fashion student’s educational life. Behind LFW, Graduate Fashion Week is the ultimate chance for young design talent from universities across the length and breadth of the British Isles to showcase their talent to those who really matter.
And make no mistake, with awards deservedly handed to out to students such as Hannah Wallace from unis in Nottingham Trent to Bath Spa and The Manchester School of Art, the event is true reflection of just how fashion-forward and influential the whole of the UK really is.
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|By Verity Charmer|