Belfast Fashion Week 2019

Arts

The latest trend of this years BFW…Diversity?

 

 

 

Denim, neon, sparkle and…boiler suits, yes you heard it here! Are all what to expect in upcoming fashion trends this spring from Belfast fashion Week. The show has been running 27 years and the looks just keep getting better. Director and owner of Belfast fashion week Cathy Martin took a few minutes to speak with me after the show, and I asked what makes Belfast Fashion Week so successful. She said: “We like to use our catwalk to really be inclusive and to put out a positive message about diversity”. She went on:” We have had transgenders, we have had lady boys we have had people from all persuasions on our catwalk”. Cathy and her team pride themselves on the positive view of diversity and acceptance that the show projects to its audience.

The catwalk showcases its diversity with its inclusion of plus size models, models of all ages, all genders, different races and young people with Downs syndrome. However, this year the show’s much-loved Katie Grant did not feature. Katie,19, was one of the first models with Downs Syndrome to feature in Belfast Fashion Week and is now an ambassador for the cosmetics brand Benefit. Cathy went on to say “we have all types of models on our catwalk from lady boys to transgender models”. Cathy went on to say she aims for Belfast Fashion Week to “Really be inclusive and put out a positive message about diversity”. Cathy hopes her show will influence other agencies to adapt to the idea of diversity.

I then went on to ask how she felt in relation to the shows diversity and she stated, short and sweet “personally I do believe the show does promote diversity”. I wanted to know was this show going to be as diverse as the previous show. Cathy stated that “Yes. We have always embraced diversity on our runways and will continue to do so. I have never been particularly aligned to one particular look on the runway and love our petites, our older models, our curvier models and models from all backgrounds.”

Sarah O’Rourke, Managing Director of Saraden Designs also believes the show is one that shines with its range of diversity. Sarah stated “I 100% think it does from sizes, sexes, nationalities, etc. Cathy has such a wide variety of models it was fantastic to see. I’ve worked with various companies for fashion shows and I found Belfast to have the most diverse selection of models.”

I decided to go around and speak to some members of the audience to get their views on the show. Journalism Student Emma stated “I think it is a really important factor at these types of events as it reinforces to the audience that beauty comes in different forms, therefore promoting diversity.

Could this be the new way forward for fashion? Diversity is the newest trend here to stay?

 

Neon, boiler suits, the future of fashion?

The show was in the grand surroundings of Cathedral Quarter in Belfast where designers and fashion bloggers all gathered to get a glimpse of what should be in your wardrobe this Spring.

I asked Cathy what some of her most favourite looks from the show were. “I love the muted beiges, camels, creams and whites. It is a lovely antidote to the maximalism of the past few years, kick started by Gucci and the other Italian design houses”

The show features fashion brands which you are able to find in your local Highstreet at affordable prices. The show featured clothes from Topshop, Zara, Mango and many more.

Neon brights are making a comeback and they are shining a whole new light on the catwalks of 2019. Also Boiler suits are in and no not the type of work coveralls your dad wears to work. No these are far more stylish! These boiler suits are all the range this year. Paired with a jazzy belt and bright heels and you have style steal.

The style from this years show was so unique and different and I wanted to know what Cathy wanted the audience to take away from this year’s show,” I want them to feel passionate about fashion but also to become aware of the importance of being sustainable in our fashion choices. In my director’s cut I shopped my own wardrobe to include lots of pieces from previous seasons which work well and negate the pressure of ‘always-new’ from the runway.

 

Here is a clip of some of the most loved pieces of this years show;

 

Getting to know the faces behind the clothes!

The show included beautiful pieces of clothing from day wear to and evening for people of all ages. Designers included Jacki Sleator, Alexander Baby Boutique, Bernadette Anderson Chilles, Boux Avenue, Marks and Spencer, Verona Bridal NI, and many more big names.

The end of the show featured dresses from Verona Bridal that took the centre of the stage with their sparkles and stunning bridal gowns. It really was a perfect end to the show.

Women swooned in their seats when models Johnny and Dillon strutted down the walk in Anderson/Chiles underwear for men.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Marie Therese Hickey owner of Verona Bridal who was thrilled with how they portrayed her bridal looks. Marie said it was a “Completely professional fashion show, meticulously run, professional behind the scenes managers, runners, dressers, and top-quality models who really made our couture designer bridal gowns come to life beautifully.  So proud seeing our gowns on the catwalk in such an iconic beautiful building, perfect lighting and magnetic sound the perfect backdrop to the goddesses on the walk.”

I then asked Marie what her favourite looks from the night were;

“The absolutely stunning model Aoife with Valentina as her flower girl – not just modelling but acting as the stars of a wedding day”.

Cathy announced that it was one of the last shows that the designer Jourdan will be taking part in as she leaves the fashion industry for retirement.  All the pieces that featured were all half price. I spoke with her on this topic and on about how she felt seeing her pieces on the catwalk. Jourdan who although was said to be retiring this year had this to say “I am not looking forward to retirement as in fact, I am not retiring! The future for us will be online, not necessarily retail but a rather innovative idea, which as yet is too early to discuss.” It looks like we have not seen the last of Jourdan!

Although Jourdan regretted to inform us that she was not able to make their last show featuring in Belfast Fashion Week, she did watch a video of the show after. When asked what her favourite look from the collection were, Jourdan said “As we have always been known for glamour, the evening wear section of every show is my favourite! You can’t beat the bling!”

Saraden designs were happy to provide a few words on how they felt their showstopper extravagant hats made an impression on the catwalk, “I was very happy with how they were portrayed. I was backstage helping get the models ready, they were very professional, complimentary and knew how to work the runway.”

This is one of Sarahs favourite hat creations, by her company, that received a lot of attention when worn by the effortlessly elegant model Rebecca;

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was also lucky enough to have the pleasure of speaking to Nicola Grant of Alexandria’s Baby Boutique who had kind words to say about the show. When asked about how she felt her pieces were portrayed she said, “ I feel the pieces were portrayed very well, this was probably a lot to do with the venue and the general feeling of exclusivity, which is exactly what I was hoping to achieve as I am the only UK stockist for some of my ranges, Also the slot we had to we had within the shop was I feel perfect timing”.

Although she was back stage for a lot of the show perfecting her looks she said one of her favourite pieces was the beige section.

 

 

It appears another successful year at Belfast Fashion Week! The range of clothing has introduced a whole new variety of styles that will definitely be making statement pieces in this years summer wardrobe. As for the diversity in the show, it could be a new chapter in the fashion industry. From this piece it is clear that the world of fashion is changing and growing every day. I don’t think anyone thought neon would make a comeback or even clothing like your dads work boiler suit? So who isn’t to say that in a few years some of the other biggest fashion shows in the world will adapt to these ideas. Lets hope the future of diversity in the fashion world is bright…maybe not neon bright?

Caoimhe Fitzpatrick

 

 

 

 

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