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The Clothes Show: A New Direction


Topless male models, check, screaming teenage girls, check, paparazzi fodder, check…it can only be the annual Clothes Show experience at Birmingham’s sprawling NEC. The event has grown from its humble fashion & beauty TV show roots, aired every Sunday on the BBC – to the all-encompassing show experience that attracts young women in droves.

clothes show poster

clothes show catwalk gothic

Swiftly ushered into the second fashion theatre show of the day it’s hard not to be impressed by the blend of fashion, music, dance routines and stage visuals; it’s all a feast for the eyes with high-octane performances to boot. Appealing to the see-now, buy-now ethos there were plenty of eye-catching party outfits, alongside key trends such as; gothic glamour, 80’s influences, monochrome and unisex layering. The models and dancers were certainly up for a party while the likes of Daecolm and Charlotte OC performed to the predominantly teenage crowd. The 45-minute show rounded off with visuals of Liverpool and the shows new ‘British Style Collective’ format with the lure of exclusive priority price tickets.

clothes show catwalk sequins

clothes show catwalk partytime

Meanwhile in the exhibition hall there were various hair & beauty demonstrations (anyone for a bit of instant teeth whitening?), crafting areas and informative industry talks in amongst the many stands. While the likes of ASOS Graduate Marketplace and various Universities were on hand many of the stands featured end-of-line and clearance stock aimed at today’s bargain hunting, fast-fashion shopper, and this, in my opinion, was a shame.

clothes show crafts

clothes show knitters

clothes show bargins

clothes show beauty

Having gone to the very first Clothes Show 27-years ago it was fantastic to see that one of the original presenters – Caryn Franklin is still very much involved. Mainly on the educational side Caryn hosted many of the talks and careers advice sessions.  “Fashion doesn’t want followers – it wants innovators,” she informed an attentive audience. Commenting on her educational role at the event Caryn said: “I have been delighted to oversee the education programme and its development over the years to present a huge variety of experts in the field of fashion. Our education workshops sit alongside the exciting catwalk shows and shopping experiences for student groups that visit The Clothes Show.”

clothes show seminar

So what next for The Clothes Show? The new three-day, citywide event in July will encompass various locations across the city including Liverpool Cathedral, St George’s Hall, ACC Liverpool and Albert Dock amongst others. Touted as a festival style event plans are already set for the biggest catwalk theatre to be built in the events history, along with a new education project that will invite the next generation to take a look behind the scenes.

The title ‘British Style Collective presented by The Clothes Show’, hints at a return to its core fashion roots, however will the long-established Clothes Show legacy continue under this new guise? That remains to be seen.

For more information on British Style Collective presented by The Clothes Show 7th – 9th July 2017 visit: www.britishstylecollective.com

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