If you live in the North East, you’re probably already familiar with Newcastle Fashion Week, but 2016 brings us a new stylish younger sister in the form of Sunderland Fashion Weekend. Making its debut at The bridges Shopping Centre, this weekend saw the north East Fash Pack flock to the shopping centre for fashion advice, runway shows and offers galore.
As a preview to what was in store for shoppers, I was invited to sit on the Frow at the VIP runway show hosted by Heart Radio’s Kellyanne Scott and featuring clothes which were all available to purchase at stores in the Bridges Shopping Centre, Sunderland. I wore my trusty Warehouse shorts, Chanel boots and an Ivy Park tank and was greeted on arrival with a glass of Prosecco before being shown to my seat.
The show opened with local singer / songwriter and super gorgeous model Afnan Prince showcasing relaxed casual menswear and started as it meant to go on; dynamic, energetic and fun - an absolute must for a shopping centre runway show. Models from local agency Tyne Tees Models danced, role-played and strutted to fun, upbeat songs and the fashion was current and relevant with SS16 clothing and accessory offerings from Topshop, Select Fashion, Debenhams and many more.
One of the real unique things about Sunderland Fashion Weekend is that throughout the whole event, each runway show showcased different looks, from different stores. So if you hit the mall at 10.30 and were still there at 14.30, you’d have the opportunity to see three different shows, all short, sharp and to the point and all definitely on trend for SS16. Sunderland Fashion Weekend was about so much more than just runway shows though, it was about supporting local business and opening up to new audiences. By showcasing the current trends on the runway, shoppers were shown how to put key looks together for SS16 by making them completely accessible and wearable for Sunderland shoppers, nothing outlandish, nothing crazy, just real fashion, for real people.
Fusionz Hair and Beauty were on hand (literally) to provide bespoke henna tattoo designs for customers, admittedly a business I’d have never known about if it wasn’t for Sunderland Fashion Weekend and definitely one I’d use again. My partner in crime, Joni and I stayed behind afterwards chatting to the Artist and business owner and looking at some one her amazing creations.
There’s no doubt that Sunderland Fashion Weekend has been a real success for the city and as a debut, was put together spectacularly well with a focus on sustaining local business rather than fast fashion.
I can’t wait to see what 2017 brings for Sunderland, maybe a full fashion week? After the success of Sunderland Fashion Weekend 2016 I certainly hope so….