The eclectic mix of talent was definitely apparent; we experienced new music, live bands, DJ sets, a drag queen, impressive graffiti art, and a one off dance performance featuring 10-21 year olds. It was a unique exhibition of talent, which during my youth in Nottingham, was a rarity.
Sneinton Market, a local hub since 1860 was the perfect venue to showcase Nottingham’s fashion hopefuls. At first a little eerie – the rows of glass windows reflecting the disappointingly small turnout preceding the show – the venue gradually became a hustle and bustle of models, locals, designers and newbies like me rushing to make it in time for the catwalk show. It was however, fashionably late, leaving enough time for an even bigger crowd to gather, anticipating the grand reveal of the first two designers’ work.
Beer in hand, DJ playing, we were ready to experience the talents of Genius by Eugene and Flux. Both sporty, urban brands promoting keeping fit in an accessible, stylish way. Genius’ designs were edgy, sophisticated and serious apart from one particularly stand out piece; a denim waistcoat embossed with red leopard print, a daring and much needed addition to the collection.
The next designer to host the runway, Thrift Generation by Madi, contrasted this; her vibe was much less serious and definitely caught my attention. The show combined elements of street art, funk, and an interesting touch of preppy vintage, though some of her clashing colours were perhaps a little dated. A particularly eye-catching piece in the show was a black top depicting a hand-stitched gun with vibrant flowers firing out of the barrel. I was able to catch up with her after the show and get the low down on her intentions behind the piece. Her message was bold: speaking out against gun crime and opposing the stereotype of Nottingham as a violent city.
Originally a stylist, Madi’s work likes to compliment current trends but isn’t dictated by them. In my opinion, this was a shrewd link to Nottingham’s personality – a city that is individual and creative but aware of, and ready to follow, current trends.
Next up, we saw pieces from Cow – the quintessential vintage reseller. Although short, their show definitely contributed originality. Also, the fact that Nottingham is one of only four shops nationwide proves the city’s relevance in British fashion.
image: NFW instagram
Minimalist sophistication filled the room when our next designer, Ullr & Skade, took to the stage. An impressive, casual, lifestyle brand, metallic and simplistic prints were their motif. When I caught up with creative designer Nick, and business advisor Ashley, sitting quite fashionably on a rogue ski lift, they were keen to emphasise their Nottingham roots. All their clothes are printed locally in Nottingham, and, notably, all their materials are eco-friendly. Their brand name is perhaps their most unique selling point, inspired by Norse mythology: Ullr, the God of Winter and Skade the Goddess of Hunting. A fierce and mysterious image is presented here, which I hope to see more of in the future.
The show welcomed designer Sarah Clifford, with her beautiful collection of flowing, feminine dresses that incorporated chiffon fabrics, coarse leathery materials, and beautiful embroidery. The theme was clearly organised, taking inspiration from Nottingham’s lace heritage, also using digital embroidery – a great mix of old and new. Sarah mastered in textiles at NTU, which was quite obvious during the show, as her exquisite red and black, elegant patterns were a real credit to her.
The night took a U-turn when 1BC took over: an edgy, rock and roll, indie approach to fashion. The live music was lapped up by the audience and worked perfectly with the strutting models and style of clothes. From shredded denim skirts to distressed tights, the vibe was self-consciously rebellious. The models had attitude and perfectly encompassed what the brand had to offer. The fabrics were a complete mix of metallic, patent and coarse materials echoing the smart, modern-gothic persona. Since BC stands for bespoke clothing, the mismatch made perfect sense as it was supposed to appeal to all styles. 1BC has over thirty years of experience putting them at the forefront of Nottingham fashion. Located just off Sneinton Market, they were the perfect addition to the show.
1BC have also been involved in helping other up and coming designers, collaborating with Dungeon featuring One Lust and Passion for the penultimate show. The vibe went from rock and roll to S&M leaving the crowd in a state of shock. Imperfections were embraced, and so was sex and female power. Chains, leather, and submission dominated the runway, and it was liberating. Despite female domination being the main attraction, the clothes were actually very well thought out; long, black lace gowns and tight-fitted leather numbers might have been seen as distasteful to the more conservative type, but I thought they were quirky and daring.
The final show was by Amy From The Heart – a dance brand aimed at the millennial teen. An eclectic group of boys and girls, the Spritzer Dancers, strutting along the runway and ended the evening with a lively dance sequence.
The diversity and inclusivity of the evening has to be commended – in particular the different shapes, sizes and ages that modelled the work – it was a pleasure to watch.