If you have been on the Birmingham fashion social media scene in the past few weeks you would have heard about the unique stylish Birmingham-based event, Birmingham International Fashion Week 2015.
Here at NUBI Magazine we had the fantastic opportunity to attend the third installment of this two daylong event and view the most diverse range of international and British styles from womenswear, couture, millinery, footwear and jewellery.
Since the launch of Birmingham International Fashion Week in 2013, the city of Birmingham has continued to enjoy great influential fashion designs from across the globe. The event prides itself on discovering and promoting new designers, international upcoming talent and careers of celebrated fashionistas in the fashion culture, while still remaining a point of reference for various UK fashion weeks.
If there’s one West Midlands based fashion event that provides a unique platform for emerging independent international designers, it’s BHMFW.
BHMFW: Day One…
Upon arrival we were treated to a goody bag filled with beautiful jewellery pieces by Iridescence Jewellery, Birmingham based underwear by Queen of the Crop and USA OCÓO Beauty drink and much more, before heading to the fashion lounge and showroom to network with other fashion enthusiasts and bloggers.
Eliis Ashley Ruus, founder and creative director of Birmingham International Fashion Week, says: “With the celebration of 3 Years of Birmingham International Fashion Week, our focus has been on reflecting upon the immense and diverse design talent that is evident year-on-year.
“From its humble beginnings in 2012, Birmingham International Fashion Week remains Birmingham and the Midland’s greatest fashion platform and the launch pad of International Designers in the UK.”
The presenter and host for the evening was celebrity stylist and model, Lewis Duncan-Weedon; a celebrity ambassador for the Princes Trust, celebrity stylist, writer and a presenter, who introduced the first runway show: Arabel Manners.
Birmingham born designer Arabel Manners showcased her gorgeous footwear range of green sole red and black heels and neutral coloured leather boots, which she started after seeing how frustrated her mother was at being unable to find beautiful shoes in her size. Arabel now creates beautiful shoes and boots in sizes 8 to 10.5.
Additional fashion designers of the night included USA designer Segrid Allen, whose collection of vibrant patterned and embellished bikinis, pastel yellow and orange gowns and fairy-tale blue and white wedding dresses wowed the audience.
Segrid said: “I love making ladies feel elegant and satisfied with how their clothing fit, and I have fun designing beautiful and fun outfits. The SS16 Collection is inspired by spring gardens and vibrant, youthful summer.”
MALIHA Designs infused the catwalk with an eastern touch of stunning intricate handmade dresses and legwear for weddings, bridesmaids and evening wear. Her Indian fusion of decorated autumnal pastel pieces graced the model’s bodies beautifully as they posed like Bollywood elegant dancers.
Certified Organic Haute Couture ECO-Fashion and an artisan-clothing label, Green Embassy, celebrated the spirit of sustainability. In their unique blend of timeless textile sculptures, traditional handmade techniques, organically certified materials and luxury quality, their wearable art pieces elevated independent fashion to a whole new level.
The Guest Speakers:
Her story of previous Geography seminars at university to gaining 150,000 subscribers on YouTube captivated everyone in the room, while her speech on how to create and grow a successful blog was really something to admire and be inspired by.
“The key is to be consistent and to be your (weird) self, your content will come from that – engage with and talk to your audience, it is the best way to capture people’s attention.
“Focus on taking advantage of social media and searchability, if you want something enough and put the time and effort into it, it’ll work.”
Keynote speaker, Fabian Hirose, also gave an interesting talk, centred on “The Impact of Abuse in Fashion Systems”. Having working in the fashion industry for 15 years, alongside designer icons like Alexander McQueen, he had a thought-provoking view on how creative pressure can result in self-abuse.
“This is a cut-throat industry of shiny products and brands. You need to have perfect everything, there is a lot of pressure that can result in self-abuse.
“People love designers until the designers have no more to give, in fashion there are so many high expectations. There is a strong commercialisation of creativity that can be so easily exhausted. If you don’t go fast, you’re out.”
He also introduced the young talented winner of the 2015 International Fashion Student Competition, Mary Hunter, whose SS16 feminine, elegant evening wear designs of silk white and pastel blue gowns were simply wonderful.
What’s more, we were all treated to a Make Up London Academy masterclass on both evenings, revealing the secrets to “Contour like a Pro” – needless to say we are all now giving Kim Kardashian a run for her money.
The Press and Fashion Lounge saw another great turnout from the new Fashion App Vernez, Fashion website LetUsFindIt and Womenswear installations from Green Embassy, Segrid Allen, What Alice Found Vintage and millinery by Jayne Elizabeth Millinery.
Designer Exchange Designer Handbags were available in the Fashion Lounge and Showroom on both days, while miraDry educated the guests with the science behind non-surgical, non-invasive and permanent approach to eliminating underarm sweat.
BHMFW: Day Two…
Day Two of Birmingham International Fashion Week 2015 was just as good as the first, showcasing brilliant designs, interesting and inspiring discussions by guest speakers and beautiful faces from the ‘Face of the World‘ model competition.
Derek McDonagh, Regional Managing Director at Macdonald Burlington Hotel, says: “We are delighted to be sponsoring Birmingham Fashion Week so that we can celebrate local talent and showcase what this thriving city has to offer.”
UK based millinery designer, Jayne Elizabeth, displayed her stunning artistic hats on the runway to make any headgear-maker jealous. Her fascination for fashion, costume, art and needlework clearly evident within her intricate collection of dark feminine tulle, silk, lace taffeta and velvet head pieces.
The work ethos of the London fashion brand, I.Kollection, is one of quality and unique flair; her collection of exquisite sheer girly fabrics, vivid beading and feminine jewelry stones are simply gorgeous. Founder, Ihuaku, is a designer that’s on an upward journey; having recently been featured in the emerging Designer profile of the July 2015 edition of Vogue.
Hazel Gonzalez added a touch of shine to the runway with her tranquil silver metallic jewelry, while Green Embassy returned to the catwalk to show off more of their artistic fashion; their breathtaking finale raised awareness of ecological issues with the models presenting ‘Silent Rainforest’ Runway show.
The hues of Orchids flowers and artwork created by this ECO Couture Designer were beautiful, the application of purple carrots, forest berries, Hibiscus flowers, begonvillas brought the show to a magical end on Saturday 5th September.
The Guest Speakers:
Speaking about launching her very own range of ‘nude’ hosiery, Bianca Miller London, (for women of all ethnicities; from English Rose to Sub Saharan African skin tones), audience members were certainly captivated by her inspirational story, insider tips and exclusive fashion knowledge.
When Bianca isn’t running the business, facilitating workshops, networking and conducting meetings, she manages to find time to mentor graduates as part of the Brunel University WP Mentoring scheme.
Since her place on The Apprentice, Bianca has gone on to achieve various awards and honors, such as Winner of ‘Young Entrepreneur of the Year’ at Precious Awards 2014.
The Final part of the night included announcing the winners of the ‘Face of the World‘ international model competition.
Face Of The World provides the opportunity for men and women all around the world to represent their countries in the search for the ‘Face Of The World’ and win the amazing opportunity to be seen by fashion industry professionals and walk down an international runway.
Saturday marked the culmination of the fashion shows, press and nationwide media attendance, all coming together at the BHMFW Official After Party at Mechu to finish off the grand two day event. Thank you BHMFW for a great show, we plan on seeing you again next year!
A very special thanks to BHMFW Press for their photography, and Professional Photography for exclusively providing NUBI Magazine with photographs of the event!