The Clothes Show Live 2015: Exhibition Review

Posted on 28 December 2015
By Kate Reilly James
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Birmingham NEC was once again the home of fashion this December as The Clothes Show Live held its annual four day show.

For the first time ever the exhibition supported a start-up area for new designers to sell their debut collections in the fashion fast-lane. Yay!

The queues were buzzing with excitement as the giant doors were flung open at 9am as eager shoppers, bloggers and beauty fanatics flooded the stalls.

At Purple Revolver we love a bit of retro clothing and so made a beeline for the vintage quarter to drool over the Belstaff leather jackets and Reebok pump high-tops. Swoon.

The rest of the exhibition is divided up into high end designer boutiques, beauty stalls, education exhibitors and start-up designers.

Designer Avenue formed a row of pretty boutiques focussing mainly on high end special occasion wear and showcased a fine array of stunning red carpet gowns alongside cashmere and leather accessories.

What seemed like 1000’s of beauty stalls were constantly rammed with women and girls thrusting notes at the chiselled male models handing out £10 goody bags filled with skin care, cosmetics and nail varnish samples. Sex sells…who knew?

The start-up designer section was absolutely jam-packed with talent and paired with the college and university exhibitors provided visitors with a real insight into the inner workings of the fashion industry.

We were delighted to see so many Northern designers coming to the fore with real passion for producing well-rounded, comprehensive collections of beautiful, original clothing.

10 years ago The Clothes Show Live was all about stocking up on discounted lines from labels such as Paul Frank, Juicy Couture and David & Goliath and while there are still plenty of bargains to be had the show has now taken on a responsibility to educate shoppers on how their items are sourced and constructed.

Tickets for seminars with fashion legends Caryn Franklin and Hilary Alexander sold out before the exhibition began and the tonne of floor space reserved for those in the education sector made for the most interesting part of the show.

From the 2015 Graduate catwalk to hands-on displays of pattern cutting, garment construction and student sketch books showing design processes, the friendly students on hand spoke enthusiastically about their learning experiences, hoping to inspire a new wave of talent.

After taking in the spectacular Alcatel One Touch sponsored catwalk show featuring a gaggle of beautiful models (a gaggle?! A flock?) And their endless legs whip nae-naeing down a huge runway we were all fashion-ed out.

We left with a bag stacked full of uni prospectus, course leaflets, business cards, flyers, glossy mags and samples to pour over on the journey home.

Hopefully the event organisers will continue in the same vain and inspire more budding designers to make the leap into main stream fashion.