Fashion | Review – Clothes Show Live 2013

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In the fast-pace of the fashion world, a young fashionista can be hard-pressed to find the time, money or perfect outfit to go to any major fashion event. I mean, we might spend our evenings scrolling through the album of the show’s/event’s/party’s highlights featured by Vogue but it’s never the same as actually being there. But for one time out of many desperate and jealous others, I was able to attend a real one. A big one too: Clothes Show Love 2013.

I visited the Birmingham NEC on Tuesday, Clothes Show’s final day. All housed under one spectacular roof was the array of stalls and catwalks giving almost anybody a glimpse of true British fashion. The hustle and bustle of scurrying people, the vibrancy of loud music and the energetic environment was a crazy recipe for an intoxicating atmosphere.

If you know your history, you’ll know who Caryn Franklin is. As one of the main hosts and organisers for the event since the 1980’s, she proves to be as much of an exciting and sprightly character as her fantastic dress sense would suggest. And if it’s the celebs you’re after then Clothes Show is the place to be. This year became host to the cast of Made in Chelsea, The Only Way Is Essex and The X Factor. On a more fashion conscious note, Clothes Show was visited by designers like Henry Holland and Zandra Rhodes as presenters of seminars and sponsored shows.

Amidst all the shows advertising brands’ and stores’ latest collections, the central stage, sponsored by Diet Coke became a front for up and coming student exhibits. From Harrogate College to Birmingham Creative Arts University, the graduate fashion was modern, edgy and avant-garde. Taking inspiration from mid-century style, ethnic clothing and space age couture, each college, university and sixth form showed the very best of creativity conjured by young minds today. A true specimen of modern, forward-thinking fashion.

As well as showcasing the latest in young design, the Diet Coke catwalk was host to the Creative Awards 2013. Being Clothes Show’s 25th anniversary, a wide variety of competitions opened up to teens with a vested interest in fashion design. Contests allowed individuals to create the perfect onesie, vintage handbag, indie inspired t-shirt and cocktail dress celebrating 25 years of Clothes Show.

By opening up gateways for young talent and drawing in the style conscious from every corner of the United Kingdom, Clothes Show Live really does sum up modern British fashion. Whether it’s a vintage stall selling blazers by the dozen, a Barry M tent giving away lip-gloss by the kilo or a quirky student store just trying to get a foot in the door, it’s all fashion, very British and extremely stylish; that’s all that matters, isn’t it?

Adam Leach

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