After much deliberating and many cups of coffee, the judges have finally come to a decision on the SHORT-LIST for this year’s Best of Manchester Fashion Awards! Congratulations and good luck to…
NEW DESIGNER AWARD short-listed nominees:
CHARLOTTE LEE TAYLOR
For University of Salford Fashion graduate Charlotte Lee Taylor, fashion has always been a way of life, a first love, a living, and a dream. She started young by hacking perfectly good clothes up, customising them to her own taste – much to the dismay of her parents!
Charlotte designs with her heart on paper, with just a simple pencil in hand and a vision of claiming a small part of the presence in mind. It is the possibility and excitement of designing what may shape future fashion that most inspires her style – featuring brash, femininely structured, close fitting tailoring.
Her concept style has many sides to it. She loves the idea of creating more than a collection, putting on more than the average catwalk show. As a designer, Charlotte wants to entice people with her work. She dares to be different by mixing different medias to create a whole new look, a key factor to create the next phenomenon.
For her final collection, Charlotte researched ‘The Abyss’, and its unearthly ocean dwelling creatures. She chose to produce an all black collection to mimic the darkness of this unexplored, unknown undersea world, and was inspired by the ‘bioluminescence’ of the strange organisms found there. The garments feature a combination of textures which re-enact the hypnotic movements and dazzling, structured appearances of these alien-like life forms. A range of fabrics sourced from Paris, London and around Manchester were used, including wool, mohair, silk and jersey, and LED lights effectively simulate the ‘lure of luminescence’.
The judges have short-listed Charlotte for her Abyss-inspired collection and extraordinary innovation with meshing together LED lighting and fabric – challenging the notion of where fashion ends and technology begins.
Kirsty Payne is a University of Salford Fashion graduate. She is a skilled pattern cutter, and also integrates the use of Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator into her processes. Her graduate collection was shown at London Graduate Fashion Week, where she was one of the ten finalists put forward for the £20,000 Gold Award.
Kirsty enjoys designing in all aspects of womenwear, with a major interest in creating country and outdoor wear. Inspired by her hobby of horse-riding (Kirsty has two horses of her own), the final collection is based on equestrian wear, but with a quintessentially city feel and appearance. Naming the collection ‘Quite The Contrary’, meaning ‘quite the opposite’, Kirsty wanted to focus on the opposing looks of Country Girl and City Girl, and combine the two so neither would look out of place in either setting – utilising traditional fabrics and giving them a contemporary, urban twist.
Following the success of being selected for the Gold Award and showing her final collection in the Gala Show at London Graduate Fashion Week, Kirsty was also chosen to show two of her outfits at China’s Graduate Fashion Week. There she was one of the few designers representing England’s graduates on London’s Graduate Fashion Week stand – a fantastic achievement for a new designer to be recognised by well-respected members of the fashion industry beyond the UK.
The judges have short-listed Kirsty for her sophisticated spin on the quintessentially British equestrian theme – merging the Country Girl and City Girl silhouette and bringing a look of the countryside onto busy city streets so effortlessly.
Rebecca Thomson is a recently graduated Fashion Design student from Manchester Metropolitan University.
Graduating with First Class Honours and with the prestigious London Graduate Fashion Week Gold Award already under her belt, she is now preparing to study a Masters degree at The Royal College of Art.
Rebecca believes her collection represents both herself and her passions in life and design. Her designs transcend the idea of combining comfort and construction, drawing contrasting inspiration from photographer Roman Vishniac’s 1930s book illustration. Whilst experimenting with both historic and modern techniques and textures she developed upon the idea of a ‘nostalgic future’.
As a new designer, Rebecca has had a very exciting year so far. Before Graduate Fashion Week she was lucky enough to show two outfits at Vauxhall Fashion Scout for the Fashion Awareness Direct Awards. An outfit from her collection was also chosen to be photographed by the elusive fashion photographer Rankin. Since winning the Gold Award at Graduate Fashion Week, Thomson’s work has featured in national magazines such as Elle, Marie Claire, Italian Vogue, The Telegraph and The Guardian. She is currently working on a number of garments for online fashion boutique ASOS’s press launch in October, and will be venturing to Milan at the end of the month to display her portfolio alongside the world’s best newcomers at a cocktail evening hosted by Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour.
The judges have short-listed Rebecca for her prolific collection of sculptural creations that have already attracted wide acclaim and recognition, and won her the London Graduate Fashion Week Gold Award.
SMALL INDEPENDENT RETAILER/DESIGNER AWARD short-listed nominees:
Cocu and Chadwick create made to measure gowns that celebrate women and their curves!
Designer Slim Chadwick is the creative force behind the brand which has two boutiques producing evening wear and bridal gowns in the Barton Arcade, Manchester. All Cocu and Chadwick gowns are hand-made to a couture standard in England. As with a traditional tailor, the beginning part of the process takes place in store, with the customer choosing fabrics, styles and additional detailing, and Slim balancing the customer’s requirements to make sure they are appropriate for their body shape, style and personality.
Innovation runs through the core of the Cocu and Chadwick business. Slim has been asked to come up with new designs to disguise everything from pregnancies to mastectomies, experimenting successfully with a plethora of fabrics, including tartans, tweeds and leather. Customers also bring in their own fabrics, from traditional African fabrics to sari silks and ask for them to be adapted into a Cocu and Chadwick design.
Each bespoke outfit is designed to make the most of a woman’s figure, regardless of shape and size and this has undoubtedly been the winning factor in the business’ success.
Cocu attracts a wide range of clients, from those with a size 6 ‘boyish’ figure who would like curves, to a size 26 with a large bust and ample waist wanting definition – the result is always the same – an expertly crafted figure that is beautifully in proportion.
Taking limited budgets and using them to maximum effect, the business has staged wedding parades through the city centre with brides and bridesmaids modeling the gowns. Cocu also hold impromptu tea parties outside the boutique that are free of charge and open to anyone to stop by and enjoy a cup of tea and slice of cake!
Good independents take retailing back to the days of individuality, personal service, craftsmanship and quality, and for Cocu and Chadwick, this is always the aim.
The judges have short-listed Cocu for fulfilling a niche for women of all sizes, especially those who require individual tailoring and who maybe cannot buy off the peg occasional wear.
From his base in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, once the epicentre of Cottonopolis, James Darby, self-taught bespoke tailor ‘with a twist’ produces exquisite bespoke tailoring – combining classic fabrics and techniques with contemporary styling. His full range of bespoke apparel includes shirts, coats, jackets, trousers, suits and scarfs, and James believes in working with his customers to create clothes that fit beautifully and reflect their personalities. The customers choose every element of their garments – be that the collar, the cloth, buttons, or the colour of the thread used, and everything is hand-crafted on the premises, from start to finish. In addition to tailoring, James also creates one-off innovative stock pieces.
With such a personal relationship between James and his clients, attention to detail is critical both in the design and production. A lifetime spent understanding the intricate processes involved in creating tailored garments is reflected in the quality of the finish.
The shop itself immerses you into his world – uniquely English, quirky, classic, surprising, colourful, bohemian and crafted. Cabinets fashioned from re-claimed front doors frame his work, reams of fabric sit on solid oak shelves, and the walls are dressed with cultural reference points – The Beatles, A Clockwork Orange and The Avengers, all feeding and stimulating; influencing and shaping his garments.
In terms of the service provided and products created, there is no other shop in Manchester or indeed the UK quite like James Darby’s. He only uses locally sourced products where possible, and produces everything on the premises. Influenced by his love of football and his time spent on the terraces, alongside a passion for architecture, music and old school dandyism, James Darby offers ‘the gentleman feel of Savile Row with a hint of Manchester attitude.’
The judges have short-listed James Darby for he is a self-taught designer who embraces the textile heritage of the city, and takes gentlemen’s wardrobe staples and introduces a quirky and innovative twist reflecting true Manchester attitude.
Junk Shop opened in 2007, promoting eco-logical fashion and recycling to the people of Manchester. They enthuse passion and a belief for sustainable living and the environment, opening eyes to the concept of imaginative recycling, and pride themselves on being a social enterprise. The originality of the store stems from using recycled pre-loved materials, whether it’s the Narnia-esque changing rooms to the reformed bottle counter – all materials are lovingly sourced to provide the prefect retail therapy to ethical conscious fashionistas and built to reflect the ethics of its owners.
As an ethical and inventive shopping experience set within a beautiful installation, Junk Shop is one of few retailers who can genuinely boast individuality. They work hard, collaborating with some of the best young, up-and-coming designers to bring you fashion-conscious clothing that’s creative, playful, multi-cultural and distinctive, all made in Manchester.
Junk Shop is a community organisation focused on sustainable projects and supporting the local community through training. They currently work with 50 organisations on innovative projects. Junk even has its own currency, The Green Pound, which can be spent in numerous ethical outlets from The Royal Exchange Theatre to The Eighth Day. Proceeds go to Groundwork, reducing Carbon Emissions locally through ‘Solar Panels for Schools’. They also work with charities on innovative fundraising including Age Concern at Chester Racecourse, and their Up-cycled fashion range, showcased at Oxfam Designer Boutiques London.
Junk Shop’s ‘Next Step Project’ provides internships for young people moving on from care, and by offering unique training within the fashion industry, they inspire 50% of school-leavers to enroll at college. Junk Fashion courses inspire the public to make do and mend, reduce landfill, promote learning, empowerment and provide experience to gain employment within the fashion sector.
One of Junk Shop’s most prestigious projects has been the development of their ‘School of Junk’, where they showcase an array of creative courses within their imaginative studio and work closely with disadvantaged people who they creatively inspire through fashion design within an artistic environment.
The judges have short-listed Junk Shop for their socially conscious ethos, including its Green Pound currency, use of reclaimed and recycled products, community involvement, collaborative business partnerships and their educational and skills development packages.
THE LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT IN FASHION AWARD winner will be announced at the awards ceremony on Thursday 14th October.
Best of luck to all short-listed nominees! We look forward to seeing you all on Thursday… and announcing the winners of the £2,000 prize and tailored professional development packages!