North East holds fashion weeks

PUBLISHED: 15:27 13 May 2011 | UPDATED: 19:21 20 February 2013

North East holds fashion weeks

North East holds fashion weeks

The couture capitals of the world will always be Paris Milan New York and London - but Middlesbrough and Newcastle have their own thing going too.... words By Vicky Pepys

It takes a special event to get us out of our rut. We may have heard on the grapevine that a new designer is installed in a pop-up shop, or on Etsy, or who has had the lucky break of dressing a pop star.

But unless were really interested we often dont seek them out until theyre presented to us on a plate. Newcastle Fashion Week running 14th to 21st May and Middlesbrough Fashion Week 23rd to 29th May gives us a couple of plates...well, more of a piled high platter really.

Newcastle has eight fashion fuelled days say organisers Newcastle NE1 as part of their Alive after Five initiative. Kicking off on the 15th May at a Fashion TV bash (youll know it if youve got Sky) with its own new fashion vodka drink, theres a number of events well worth registering for via the website Tickets are limited but its worth a try.

Our hotly tipped events include An Hour with Wayne Hemingway (lecture) 16 May; hairdresser Lee Staffords Uncut session on the 20 May and a trip to Made in Newcastle, normally the haunt of talented member creatives like I Heart fabrics (handmade retro print 50s styles); Bobu Couture (admire the re-invented shoes) and Lucys Happy Place (love her illustrations). Theyre offering space to like minded non-members too so it becomes doubly interesting.

Try to get tickets for Front Row Fashion Show at As You Like it
on the 17th May featuring Anh Mao Couture pieces and The Libertarian hats, beautiful, unique, quirky, and the annual Northumbria Uni fashion show at the Baltic on the 19th, showcasing the final year graduates before their London show.

All the citys major retailers are joining in. John Lewis is offering a family fashion makeover for 1,000 and Fenwick Ltd host a live lingerie window display show; Debenhams are offering a Win this Window competition.

We would, however, totally avoid the 3D Body Scanner within Eldon Square on the 16th; Eldon Garden on the 17th and Monument Mall on the 18th - although it may float someones boat!

Its Middlesbroughs second endeavour at a fashion week. Last years, held in April, was deemed a huge success and like the May event brings together the towns major retailers (must get a House of Fraser late night VIP fashion show ticket), the independents (Psyche particularly), designers and high street brands offering all manner of special events like Style Pods, Win the Window, swishing events and special offers.

Opening the proceedings local celebrity designer Kate Fearnleys (Katie Price, Girls Aloud, X Factor et al) exclusive by-invitation only event at La Pharmacie Restaurant and Medicine Bar showcases her current Spring Summer Collection, newly launched Bridesmaid Collections and a sneak preview of Autumn/Winter.

Although the show is private, tickets can be won on Kates Facebook page via her website; its worth going for the goodie bag alone, and Kates store, on Linthorpe Road, normally by appointment only, will be open during the week with some amazing bargains waiting to be snapped up.

Fashion wouldnt be anywhere without accessories and the recently opened The Modern Jewel: In time and the mind of others exhibition at Mima shows the power of jewellery; some expected, some thoughtful, some mind blowing.

Theres a chance to join in as special guest Artist Educator Jackie Steven from the Tate Modern will be hosting drop-in jewellery workshops on each of the Saturday afternoons. Inspired by the current exhibition and creating pieces from what they call a jewellery buffet, we can choose from nuts and bolts, drawing pins, beads threads, lace, feathers, thermo heated plastic and even car tyres.

Jewellery fittings are provided and Jackie is on hand to help make brooches, necklaces, bracelets, earrings and hairpieces costing just 3 per piece; booking isnt required.

Its nice to see fledging companies being offered a profile at this event as well as the more established companies. Michelle Parratt at Just Me within the Corner Emporium in The Mall, is a brand new initiative start-up project funded by the Council giving Michelle the chance to make her mark in fashion retail.

Although specialising in interiors pieces Michelle also makes hand-made beads and for the fashion week will hosting two one hour workshops per day to help create hair accessories and bib necklaces. For 7 youll have an exclusive piece of jewellery to take home.

Organised by We Do Marketing and supported by Middlesbrough Council its hoped that the week will generate repeat results. Last year Marks and Spencer were up 200% on their weekend sales, New Look hosted a closed event within 2 hours theyd generated 3,000 in sales, says the Councils Karen Shields.

Both weeks are of course designed to give retail a boost and it will work because we shoppers will have more of an engaging experience.

Its an ideal opportunity to really get involved, have fun and experience something a little out of the ordinary. Fashion is fabulous at the best of times but when its recognised and marketed as the valuable worthwhile-to-the-economy creative industry it is, we start to enjoy it more and spend twice as much....without even realising it. A win win situation all round.

Stockists box

Kate Fearnley,
224 Linthorpe Road,
Middlesbrough Tel: 01642 227355
(by appointment except during Middlesbrough Fashion Week)

Just Me (Michelle Parratt)
The Corner Emporium,
Tel: 07941052485

The Libertarian (Jayne Ewell)
online at

Lucys Happy Place

at Made In Newcastle,
79 Grainger Street, Newcastle

Mao Couture,
40 Station Road,
South Gosforth, Newcastle
Tel: 0191 285 3864 (by appointment)

Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (MIMA),
Centre Square, Middlesbrough Tel: 01642 726 720

Middlesbrough Fashion Week
hotline: 01642 224 706

Newcastle Fashion Week

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