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    Entries in Fashion (64)


    Leeds Fashion Scene (Part 1)

    This is a blog post we have been meaning to write for quite a while. We are constantly having conversations about the Leeds fashion scene and we wanted to try and open that conversation out. We have just come to the end of a flurry of fashion shows, shopping events etc., happening across the city. While these events are still fresh in all our minds it feels like a good time to share our views.

    This is a post in two parts. The first focuses on recent history and the current situation. Part 2, which will be posted tomorrow, will focus on the future and what can, in our view, happen next. 

    History & Current Situation

    To begin, I think we need to take an honest look at where the Leeds fashion scene is right now. It is an emerging scene that is not particularly relevant on a global level. There are some great stories and brands that have emerged from the city in the past. Nicholas DeakinsAqua Couture and, to some extent, Marks and Spencer are all important fashion brands that started life in this city. Burberry's Chief Creative Officer, Christopher Bailey, is from the area and the Editor of LOVE MagazineKatie Grand, was born here. Let's face it, a city the size of ours will every so often produce talented people doing exceptional things. But, in terms of a fashion 'scene' Leeds is still most definitely positioned in the 'has potential' category.

    When Hebe Media was formed in 2009 we had a vision to drive Leeds into that list of emerging, exciting international cities. You know, the unofficial almost magical list that includes places like Berlin, Stockholm, Barcelona, Detroit, Copenhagen, Taipei and other cool cities. In 2009 / 2010 Leeds was a long long way off that list in our opinion. Everything seemed 'corporate' and boring. This was not only in the fashion scene, but also the digital scene and in our opinion large parts of the music scene. As any creative knows, these areas all 'feed' one another. Three of the Hebe team used to study and live in Barcelona and we had become used to being part of a scene where fashion designers would hang with musicians hanging with artists hanging with DJs hanging with marketeers hanging with models. In Leeds this was just not there. The wrong people were organising things, the brands used to promote the city were all wrong and people were working in isolation.

    During the past year, however, things have changed quite a lot. Our designers' profiles are rising all the time: James Steward has pretty much been 'Mr Red Carpet' this summer at the BAFTAs and Royal Weddings. Existing events have gone from strength to strength such as Leeds Fashion Show, which this year reached new levels. The indie scene in Leeds has stepped up and is now making waves again (like back in the day, when the Corn Exchange was actually good) thanks to cool projects like Birds Yard and Fabrication. Work on the next major retail scheme in the UK - Trinity Leeds - has restarted. The outlook is positive. There are, of course, things we as businesses, brand and creatives still need to evaluate and work on but this is normal in a scene still finding its 'place'.

    Hebe & Leeds Fashion Scene

    Our Head of Fashion, Shang Ting and I both studied Fashion Marketing and Communication at Instituto Europeo di Design in Barcelona and, after graduation, we both had a number of offers to take jobs in established 'fashion cities' such as New York, London and Shanghai. But we made the decision to come to Leeds (where I am from) because we saw the city as a 'blank canvas'. I had previously worked in events, producing for brands like Ministry of Sound and Gatecrasher so I had a pretty good network in the city to get us kickstarted and plugged into the creative scene.

    After months of research we came to the realisation that not that much was going on in terms of events and maybe more importantly, people hanging / working / creating together. We did at this point, however, begin to see some of the talent that the city had to offer and made a point of going and meeting with as many of them as we could. People like James Steward, Dominic Al-Samarraie and Rav Matharu immediately jumped out as doing some cool stuff. We worked with Marketing Leeds on the first Leeds in Barcelona that showcased some of these designers (as well as Leeds 'vintage' scene) to an international group of fashion and trend bloggers. 

    Since then we have produced more international fashion events such as Creative Encounter which aims to showcase the best Leeds talent to an international audience. The first Creative Encounter was in Barcelona and the next is planned for Stockholm. Shang Ting heads up the immense UK Observing Diary project which attracts more 10 million views each month and showcases trends, and more, in Leeds and in London. We are also working on a number of projects (which we will go into in Part 2 of this blog post) that aim to help push the Leeds fashion scene onto new levels by showcasing our own talent, as well as working with some of the biggest fashion brands in the world on new projects here in Leeds.


    There are some interesting designers on the Leeds fashion scene today. The aforementioned James Steward is destined for big things. Lisa-Jayne Dann is also attracting international attentionDom Dick and Harry's collection for Creative Encounter Barcelona was a big step forward both visually and technicallyBo Carter carried away the designer of the year award in her first year, at this year's retail awards. Emerging talents such as Crystal Padmore and Asobi Fashion have shown great tailoring skills and ideas. Ewa Domanska won the designer of the year award at Leeds Fashion Show. Klue by Kelly Ann create dresses with interesting shapes. And Antiform is the leading ethical, remade design brand in Leeds.

    James Steward showing in BarcelonaDom, Dick & Harry also showing at Creative Encounter



    As we have mentioned previously, and in yesterday's blog post, Leeds Fashion Show 2011 reached new levels this year and we are delighted to support the project as Hebe Media and as Brand Ambassadors for Trinity Leeds. The show is a great platform for emerging designers, enabling them to take an important step forward. The venue (Leeds Museum) is beautiful and fits the show well but more needs to be done on the museum / council side of things to support the project rather than hinder it. Some of the things they have to contend with by having the show there are ridiculous, and may make them question whether the hassle is worth it. 

    Recent winners at the Leeds Fashion Show Awards

    Other events in the city are a real mixed bag. There are some lovely stories such as Passion for Fashion, which uses fashion as the driver to help people develop new skills and find their creative side. It is a shame this cannot act as an annual event that aims to find and support young talent in the city, maybe as a 'talent feeder' for Leeds Fashion Show? We did not attend Leeds Rocks this year but have seen a rather damning review and even more disappointing comments section. We did attend City Rocks presents 'Walk this Way', as we manage the headline act I Call Shotgun (ICS). The event, which like the Fashion Rocks events it aims to emulate, tried to fuse fashion and music to a massive audience at the O2 Academy. This is not an easy thing to pull off. The music was great and the sound system amazing but the fusion of fashion and music did not quite work. A disappointing attendance showed that, perhaps, this needs a rethink.

    Harvey Nichols usually produce the best 'quality' events in the city such as Vogue FNOFashion Vs Football, and general fashion shows, which we enjoyed. They also host small events for press and VIPs to create that intimate experience, like Swillington Farm dining, afternoon teas and private showings. However, as Harvey Nichols has been promoted as the retail 'headliner' for so many years, we are still waiting for something more spectacular from them.

    There are other events, which are usually put under the 'Leeds Loves Shopping' brand, but not much in there has seemed very interesting to us. A lot of 'alright' stuff but nothing that, for example, we would feel comfortable inviting our national or international network to attend. 

    There are other events that seem to pop up periodically, most notably the vintage fairs from St Gemma's Hospice and the events Vintage Wardrobe used to stage at Brudenell and in their store (before they left for warmer climates!). These were great fun and usually had us rummaging through rails and boxes for hours!


    In many ways the fashion media landscape in Leeds mirrors the talent and scene in general. There are some cool emerging projects and brands and some things that need a lot of work.  

    We have already mentioned our own UK Observing Diary project which showcases Leeds and London designers, trends and events to a massive audience in the Far East. This has lead to the team (Shang Ting and Clair) having regular columns on Vogue Taiwan and Brand Magazine and they are currently in final stages of writing their first book, which will be released in the Far East in the next few months. The Hebe Media blog (where you at right now!) attracts 1000's of visitors every month and has regular Street StyleEvents and 'Introducing' Features from some of the best things going on here.

    The Leeds blogosphere is young but developing. Notables include A Little Bird Told MeMagic Square FoundationFashion Looks North and A Forte For Fashion. Unfortunately we have lost one of Hebe's best buddies Bangsandabun to London and she is now also kicking ass as one of Glamour Magazine's Style Tribe! The Culture Vulture has also been featuring 'style' content more and more recently, headed up by Elle Snare, so there are some interesting things going on.

    Looking at the more 'traditional' stuff. The Yorkshire Evening Post is not something we usually read but it seems to pick up on occasional press releases about fashion news and shows. We would love to see the paper really push this side of things though. This is one of the areas it could really modernise through, but more on this tomorrow in Part 2!

    Leeds Guide, usually through Ali Schofield, regularly have a presence at most of the city's fashion events and cover most of the important news. Both in the magazine and online we can see they are trying their best to support local independent brands and projects. They also run the Leeds Retail Awards that have become something of an important fixture on the fashion calendar, so through this they play an important role in shining a spotlight on some of the indie boutiques and designers in Leeds.

    Summary and Part 2

    I have tried to be as concise as possible in this post but obviously summarising the fashion landscape of a big city is a big job. I hope this has given a rough outline of what is happening at the moment and our views on the current situation. Tomorrow we will post perhaps the more 'juicy' part of this blog post, which is our take on what should happen next. As with any blog post this is only the view of the Hebe team but, after two years being in the thick of Leeds fashion scene combined with our years of fashion industry experience, we hope to help, advise and instigate the next wave of projects and brands that are going to really put Leeds on the fashion map.

    Read Part 2 here


    Leeds Fashion Show 2011

    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.

    The Show.

    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 ReplayRepublic 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.

    Photo from Dorota Ozarowska Photography

    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

    Shang Ting 

    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.



    Leeds Fashion Show x Trinity Leeds (Press Release)

    Photo by Holly Saxton

    Trinity Leeds is delighted to announce that it will sponsor this year’s Leeds Fashion Show, the sixth annual showcase of its kind representing work by 28 independent designers working across the North.

    The show will be held at Leeds City Museum on 14 October 2011, where more than 500 people will gather to celebrate a unique pool of talent. Awards given on the night will include those for Emerging Talent, Ethical Fashion and Designer of the Year, for which the nominees include PAJ Couture and  Chai-lee Sharyn.

    Speaking about the sponsorship, Claire Reynolds, Marketing Manager for Land Securities said: "We are extremely pleased to be supporting local talent, and introducing our brand to the Leeds Fashion Community. I hope this will be an ongoing relationship and it is an indication of the role Trinity Leeds can play in the Leeds creative scene.”

    Leeds Fashion Show Founder, Sherelle Davidson is equally excited about the partnership: “Being sponsored by Trinity Leeds means a lot to Leeds Fashion Show. It's exactly the kind of support and backing that the project needs in order to progress. Our aim is to bridge the gap between local design talent and the Leeds high street, bringing something fresh to the city.”

    The relationship with Leeds Fashion Show marks the beginning of a year long campaign that aims to introduce the Trinity Leeds brand to people across the city, through a series of collaborations with some of the most inspirational projects and events happening in Leeds today. Coverage of the campaign can be followed on the new Trinity Leeds Facebook page where, over the coming 12 months, people can also get involved in a conversation about all things fashion, food, film and culture:

    The Trinity Leeds scheme has over 120 retailers and restaurateurs covering 1 million square feet and will bring big international, national brands and boutiques to Leeds, alongside a number of stylish restaurant and leisure operators. This urban city centre development will be a dynamic, evolving shopping experience and is set to become a retail beacon for the UK when it opens in spring 2013. 


    Hebe Media x Land Securities (Official Press Release)

    Leeds based Hebe Media has announced today that it has been appointed by Land Securities as the preferred digital supplier and brand ambassador for Trinity Leeds, which will open in the centre of Leeds in spring 2013.

    Speaking about the appointment, Claire Reynolds, Marketing Manager for Land Securities said: "We are pleased to be working with Hebe Media as our digital specialists and have lots of exciting projects on the horizon together. It is an important appointment for our Trinity Leeds team as digital sits at the heart of our communication strategy and we are keen to support Leeds talent with one of the best digital agencies in the region"

    "We have been talking to Land Securities about how we can work in partnership with them and the Trinity Leeds team, and are excited about our appointment", said Lee Hicken from Hebe Media. "Trinity Leeds represents a massive opportunity for Leeds and the potential goes way beyond just a great shopping experience."

    Hebe Media is only 18 months old but has already developed a strong track record, managing communications for a world-leading digital school, Hyper Island, and owning two of the biggest and most active online networks in the city. LOL! Leeds Online, a network for the people of Leeds, reaches over 50 thousand people and UK Observing Diary, which speaks to an audience in the Far East about life in Leeds and London, reaches almost 90 thousand people with an incredible 10 million views each month. 

    "We are a team of trend researchers, fashion and lifestyle bloggers, content creators, event producers and more", adds Hicken. "This gives us a broad perspective on communications, particularly in relation to digital culture. We look forward to helping make some amazing things happen for the benefit of Trinity Leeds and the city as a whole."

    The Trinity Leeds scheme has over 120 retailers and restaurateurs covering 1 million square feet and will bring big international brands and boutiques to Leeds, alongside a number of stylish restaurant and leisure operators. This urban city centre development will be a dynamic, evolving shopping experience and is set to become a retail beacon for the UK when it opens in spring 2013.

    Trinity Leeds on Facebook

    Hebe Media on Twitter

    Hebe Media on Facebook


    Leeds Street Style: 19/09/2011

    Youngsters use of socks.
    Hair colour, jumper's texture and the bagpack. It just works.Floral dress with headphone and trainers, nice mixture of girly and boyish.I think people might notice my fondness of homeless chic.I'm fascinated by this lady.Stylish!Guys with cute jumpers should be encouraged.There's something amazing about this shirt!Bare foot = new trend?