York has always been sought out for its history and architecture, its waterways, museums and wall-top walks, but for its catwalk shows, maybe not so much. York Fashion Week is set to change all that and put the city right at the heart of Yorkshire fashion.
The event, which runs from Monday until April 22, is the culmination of much creative hard work, planning and expertise by Fashion City York, an initiative founded in 2011 to promote the city’s designers, stylists, photographers, filmmakers, artists and both independent and High Street shops. The chairperson is Angela Horner, associate director of Browns department store, who joined in 2013.
“We had no budget and just a handful of volunteers, but what we did have was a real passion to put fashion in York on the map,” she says.
“Over the years we have been building a following and holding an annual event, starting with a weekend and building from there. In 2018 we are delighted to have reached our aim of hosting York’s first ever Fashion Week.”
With support from the York BID, York Fashion Week brings together catwalks, workshops, pop-up designer events, film screenings and museum talks.
The fashion scene in York and Yorkshire is creative and individual, says Antonia Houston, whose new label, Antonia Houston Couture, and its Yorkshire Dandy tweed and silk collection, opens the week at Bettys.
“There is a huge amount of people with artistic flair in York who aren’t afraid to show off their creativity, from artists and jewellers to print designers, and it’s wonderful being able to collaborate with them.”
Antonia, who has a BA in Fashion & Textiles from the University of Ulster, also has the label Blossom and Belle, making post-maternity and bridal wear.
“I strive to use only natural, beautiful fabrics – silks, wools, tweeds and linens – and my designs are not always based on what is in fashion but to make my client look and feel beautiful, whatever age, shape or size she is,” she says.
For the show, Antonia has worked with silk print designers Meiji and Jo Pull, of Knot & Bloom, who created headpieces.
Appearing throughout the week will be local lifestyle and fashion blogger Ciandra Birnbaum, of LoveCiandra. “People come to York for the heritage, but York should also be seen as a fashionable city,” she says.
As well as appearing at Bettys, Ruth Gibbs and Natalie Herbert, founders of Meiji Designs, will be running a Silk Scarf Devoré workshop, so visitors can try printing techniques for themselves. They set up Meiji after graduating from the University of Huddersfield in 2013. Their ethos is simple. “We just want to create beautiful pieces that people enjoy to either wear or have as artwork in their houses,” says Natalie. “We love doing commissions because you get to collaborate with your clients and create something they truly love. It’s really satisfying when we receive pictures of people with their Meiji Designs pieces.”
Rose & Flo Millinery, founded 10 months ago by Anita Gordon and Louise Cameron will stage an evening of Hat Couture at Grays Court Hotel, featuring Antonia Houston Couture, Saks Hairdressing York and Estée Lauder.
Anita says: “Louise and I met at the school gate and shared a passion for creativity.
“We booked some millinery courses together and fell in love with it. We have a small workshop in Louise’s garden.
“Our ethos and aim is to create headpieces that are bespoke for our clients –- some need advice and guidance, others come knowing what they’d like.”
Meanwhile, York Castle Museum will contribute to the week with three events, linked with its exhibition Shaping the Body: 400 years of Fashion, Food and Life.
Fill Your Boots – Exploring the Women’s Shoe Collection steps through 300 years of footwear, guided by Helen Thornton, who will explain what shoes can tell us about the changing roles of women, especially in times of social and historical upheaval.
Unmentionables: A Brief History of Underwear is a foray through the history of undies with Dr Faye Prior, discovering how our ancestors used underwear to shape and protect their bodies. And Head to Toe: Muddle and Match Dress-up Book is an activity on all week, following clues in the galleries to build a dress-up book.
Another key highlight, says Angela Horner, is a talk with Nayna Macintosh at the Principal Hotel in Station Road. Nayna helped launch Per Una at Marks & Spencer and now has Hope, an ethical fashion brand which caters for the over-40s.
She says: “Hope uses real women and models of all ages, shapes and sizes in its imagery, so everyone feels included and catered for.”
The city’s students are also involved, in particular, the Fashion Society of the University of York, which is presenting an international fashion show at Carluccio’s, St Helen’s Square, featuring student models and designers collaborating to promote culture and diversity in fashion.
So, plenty for fashionistas both local and visiting to marvel at and get involved with. And while you’re there, you might pop your head in at the Minster too.
For the full programme, visit http://www.yorkfashionweek.co.uk/
Olivia Brabbs is on https://www.oliviabrabbs.co.uk/
There’s more fashion and beauty on: https://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/lifestyle/fashion
YORK FASHION WEEK HIGHLIGHTS
April 16-22, 2018: York Fashion Week – see http://www.yorkfashionweek.co.uk/ for full programme.
April 16 - Antonia Houston Couture, with Meiji and Knot and Bloom, launches York Fashion Week with her Yorkshire Dandy collection in the Belmont Room at Bettys. Tickets £26.95 from Bettys on 01904 659142.
April 17 - The film Embrace at the Cityscreen Picturehouse
- Fill Your Boots talk: Learn about historic shoes with York Castle Museum’s Helen Thornton. Visit www.yorkcastlemuseum.org.uk
April 19 - She Loves York fashion show at The Principal and Meet the Designer with Hope’s Nanya McIntosh, also at The Principal.
- Naked and You Clothed Me - Ann Bowes reading from the book, and a Q&A session.
Enter her life-wardrobe of seven decades, trimmed with a rich seam of spiritual and Bible-based reflections. Call into Waterstones, York.
April 19: The Fashion Sketchup - a creative evening of fashion drawing fun, from 7pm at Fossgate Social hosted by Caboodle Magazine & Dulcimer Draws. Dulcimer Draws runs regular Fashion Sketchups in London, but as a Yorkshire-born artist she jumped at the opportunity to play a part in York Fashion Week and collaborate with her York-based friend, Kayti Peschke: photographer and founder of Caboodle Magazine. Advance booking essential via Eventbrite – spaces limited. www.dulcimerdraws.com
April 20 - The Fashion Society of the University of York is presenting an international fashion show at Carluccio’s, St Helen’s Square, as student models and designers collaborate to promote culture and diversity in fashion.
- Unmentionables – A brief history of underwear - With York Castle Museum’s Dr Faye Prior. Visit www.yorkcastlemuseum.org.uk
- Hat Couture - Join Rose and Flo Millinery at Grays Court Hotel, York, in collaboration with Antonia Houston Couture, Saks Hairdressing York and Estee Lauder beauty for a fabulous show of couture hats, fashion, hair and beauty. Call Louise on 07815 796148 or Anita on 07803 174637.
April 21 - Silk Scarf Devore Workshop with Meiji Designs. No experience required. At York Explore. Email [email protected]
April 22 - Explore Fashion Designs - Fast forward to the year 2050 and outfits of the future. Creative event for 5-10 year olds. All materials provided. Call York Explore on 01904 552828.
- Empower your Fashion - at Hotel Indigo York – image consultant Jackie Crawford and hypnotherapist Andrea Morrison boost confidence as you learn how to dress for your colouring, body shape, lifestyle and personality. Jackie Crawford on 07494 644788.
- Create a Lookbook Workshop - For creatives and bloggers, professional designers and illustrators Buttercrumble will guide you through the process to take home your own lookbook.
- The Dressmaking Showcase at Heworth Cricket Club: An event to showcase the work of York Learning’s Dressmaking Department and raising money in memory of two class members who lost their lives to cancer last year. Tutors and York Learning staff will be on hand to answer questions about courses, and homemade cakes, tea, coffee will be available.
April 21-22, 2018: York Festival of Vintage - York Racecourse - Celebrate the Fashion, Music & Style of the 1930s-1960s with entertainment, displays, shows and live music. https://www.festivalofvintage.co.uk/