On October 14th we attended Leeds Fashion Show 2011 at Leeds City Museum. The idea behind Leeds Fashion Show is to showcase talent from Leeds and the North as well as give up-and-coming professionals the chance to work on the project and gain that valuable experience everyone needs early in their career. For us the event reaffirmed our belief that something special is happening in this city and the Leeds Fashion Show team are playing a big part in creating that feeling.
We have supported the Leeds Fashion Show Team and what they have been doing for a couple of years now. We spoke about the project on this blog last year when we checked in with Sherelle and Rhonda who gave some background to the project and it's aims. With the greatest respect to last year's show, the 2011 showcase took things to a new level both in terms of the show and the talent on display.
This year three awards were up for grabs: The Emerging Talent Award, Ethical/Sustainable Award and the Designer of the Year Award. The Emerging Talent Award was picked up by Shi-Yuen Li (Asobi Fashion) who we were really impressed by (I need to buy virtually everything she showcased!). The Ethical/Sustainable award went to Crystal Padmore with her beautiful knitwear and the coveted Designer of the Year Award winner was Ewa Domanska who stole show with her evening dresses.
The prizes for the awards are really interesting this year. Winners will receive among other things, mentoring, internships, showcases with brands like Replay, Republic and Magic Number Three. We always feel that these types of prizes work best for young fashion talent. Opportunity is the main thing any young creative craves and Leeds Fashion Show are providing that.
Taking the 'T' into Leeds.
We had an extra reason to be at Leeds Fashion Show this year - Our newest official partnership is with Trinity Leeds who were the headline sponsors of the event. The event marked the start of the 'Taking the T into Leeds' series of projects that we are really excited about. This is the official word on the campaign:
"Over the next year Trinity Leeds will be involved with five cool projects taking place across the city. They will give us a chance to introduce ourselves, and bring Trinity Leeds to life. Most importantly they will allow us to do this in ways that support brilliant things, already happening in Leeds, like the Leeds Fashion Show.
We hope our projects will provide moments of inspiration and surprise, and reflect the city's past, present and future as a destination for fashion, food, film and culture."
The Leeds Fashion Show provided a perfect platform and audience for us to introduce Trinity Leeds to. In supporting the show and the team by becoming headline sponsors we feel we have achieved what we set out to do with 'Taking the T' campaign - we introduced the Trinity Leeds brand in a fun and interesting way at the same time as supporting something brilliant already happening in the city.
We hope this is just the start of a really exciting future between Trinity Leeds, Leeds Fashion Show and Hebe Media. We are all passionate about promoting and showcasing local talent and we all have very different, equally vital roles to play in that mission. It is really exciting to see a huge company like Land Securities getting involved with a project like Leeds Fashion Show and we hope we will look back at project as something of a model for both big business and grassroots projects of how to work together in a mutually beneficial way.
The 'T' itself went down a storm with the guests at the event. People were queueing to have their picture taken with the 'T' including guests, press, models, designers (and us too!) You can check out more pictures by clicking here.
Team Hebe's Thoughts On The Show
Stacey and I were heavily involved with this year's Leeds Fashion Show through our work with Trinity Leeds. It was a great feeling to see the success of the show. The models, designers, photographers, and volunteers all truly enjoyed the experience.
Generally there is always the problem for young, up and coming designer's of 'finishing the look'. When I did my degree in both fashion design and fashion marketing, I learned it is very important to not send models on stage with unfinished garments, which means strings, bad sewing, and showing too much skin. Another critical point is that designers need to think about the connections between the garments, what's the link to put together a "collection". Designers should deliver one story, one narrative, instead of putting five different looks out.
So besides searching for designs I haven't seen before, I also look at the finishing and the story. For that, I need to give credit to Asobi Fashion's mens collection, a consistent performance, an eye catching jigsaw logo, great finishing. I can see this collection been on sale in stores and most importantly, it's fun! Shi-Yuen Li, the designer behind Asobi Fashion, has only just started her own brand, but I can see a great future ahead of her. Another designer I've very much been impressed by was Crystal Padmore, another young designer but yet, her garments are technically brilliant. She combined very different materials to construct dresses and this is such a difficult thing to pull off. I looked closely at the finishing, and everything is close to flawless. The bag she made with the same materials as the dress just made me smile and her collection fit together very well.
Having interviewed the LFS girls before the show, this year I felt a lot more clued up on why Leeds Fashion Show happens. Last year I was under the impression it was just about a fashion show followed by awards which would help push the emerging designers forward, which in itself is a big deal, but after talking to the girls and hearing the history behind the show, I was totally impressed. It is so much more than a show. The work doesn’t stop, nor do the relationships. Everyone loves the show and the girls and anyone who wants to, can try be involved in some way. Everyone gets a chance to develop and/or showcase their skills and the success stories prove it works.
LFS 2011 was a complete success. I loved the show and there were a few pieces I wanted for myself. There were some designers that stood out for me. I especially liked the Asobi Fashion collection. Shang Ting and I loved the menswear and brand logo, and being a lover of DSquared2 (one of Shi-Yuen's influences) i knew Lee would too. I loved the blue dress modelled by Anisha Hamilton- Sutton. I also loved Crystal Padmore’s collection. Especially the Pleated dress worn by Vitalia Kolesnikova. Lovely stitching and nice designs, and her talent doesn’t end there, she makes cool bags as well! Siobhan Thomas’ maternity range was also interesting and stylish and Neide Campino looked stunning in a very loud, full length dress.
My favourite dress though, has to go to Ewa Domanska, who won best designer award, the black, bow tie, full length fringe dress. Although I would LOVE a mini version, as I am a bit too small for a long one!
There were many beautiful female models, but congratulations to the winner, Parisse Williams, Shang Ting and I spotted her in the first rehearsal and she definitely deserved to win. And congratulations to all the other winners, this year’s show kicked ass! And it is, by far, the best and most sustainable fashion show in Leeds. Not only that, but the people behind it are hard working, on-the-ball and, above all, nice people. The LFS team has never been 'too big for their boots', as some people on the fashion scene are, they have just aimed to be better and better each year and I believe this is one of the reasons they are so successful.
Our Final Thoughts
Leeds Fashion Show is something that has grown from a grassroots, charity project into the premier showcase for emerging fashion talent in the city. We feel the project has very similar aims to our international showcase project - Creative Encounter which takes Leeds fashion talent to an international platform. Both projects aim to shine a spotlight on some of the amazing creative things going on in this city at the moment. We are already looking forward to Leeds Fashion Show 2012 and are excited about all the things we will be doing with the LFS team in the year leading up to that.