Winchester Fashion Week
You don’t have to travel far to experience a top quality catwalk show, as Charlotte Pearson discovers.
Forget New York, Paris and London, when it comes to fashion weeks Winchester is one that should be at the top of your hit list.
Rapidly growing in popularity, and in it fourth consecutive year, the five day event takes place from April 1 to 5.
Managed by Winchester Business Improvement District (BID) and sponsored by the University of Winchester it aims to showcase the best of the city’s creative fashion talent.
“It is extremely important for Winchester to have a fashion week,” says Lorna Dallas-Conte, fashion industry senior lecturer at the university.
“Originally it was organised by students for students. It has evolved with the support of BID and the university. Now businesses and students can really start to offer eye catching events and activities that provide a real showcase of talent and new opportunities for trade.”
The fashion week forms part of the Festivals in Winchester scheme that brings the city to life between April and September each year.
“Festival season provides a series of live arts and cultural festivals that inspire, intrigue and enchant thousands of visitors every year, benefitting the city’s economy and tourism industry,” explains Catherine Turness, BID manager.
“The BID’s objective for fashion week is for the festival to have a direct and positive impact on consumers, retailers and investors alike.”
Catherine has been involved with the fashion week since November 2012.
“After two successful years of coordinating the festival, students from the University of Winchester approached Winchester BID about taking the reins of organising it as they had just finished their degrees,” she adds.
And she has relished the opportunity.
“I am absolutely thrilled to be involved,” Catherine smiles, “organising a community event for a vibrant and creative city is truly rewarding. I am delighted it forms part of the Festivals of Winchester calendar and hope its success continues to grow.”
So what is it like before a show?
“There is nothing like the hush and pause just before the lights come up and the music starts,” Lorna enthuses. “The sense of something unseen is extremely dramatic, and there is always a real tension – as if the models walk on a high wire rather than a runway. Then the camera flashes start as the pump of the base kicks in – it gets me every time.”
This year Catherine says there will be a ‘kaleidoscope of colour and glamour’, and the catwalk will showcase the spring/summer 2014 collections available in stores across the city.
“The catwalk show will have a diverse range of retailers showcasing their wares including bridal, vintage, lingerie and designer boutiques, plus High Street brand favourites,” Catherine says.
“There will be a shopping experience before, during the interval and after the show in the Guildhall to purchase items seen on the catwalk as well as a beauty and nail bar.”
Lorna adds: “Winchester loves drama, and this year there will be double the amount as the main catwalk show will be held twice to accommodate the growing audience.”
It seems as the years go on the show just gets bigger and better, rapidly becoming an event people want to be seen at.
“Winchester Fashion Week provides a fertile environment for the sector to flourish and stimulates further commercial development in the city,” Catherine says.
And Winchester BID’s plans don’t stop at the fashion week.
“Winchester BID is committed to investing in the future prosperity of the city and, with a major programme of events planned over the next five years, Winchester is gaining a far reaching reputation as the destination for high quality, professional and successful events,” Catherine adds.
When it comes to the catwalk the only other question is who will be seen on the front row?
To find out who will be there visit http://etcmag.net/winchester-fashion/
April 1, 2014 Fashion and Beauty