The Clothes Show 2016

Birmingham’s annual Clothes Show was back this year for its five-day fashion filled event. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the event, The Clothes Show is a shopping experience like no other. An arena filled with stalls, workshops, photo booths, freebies, expert advice, live demonstrations completed with an exclusive runway performance, the endless list of activities illustrate all the style savvy know-how. However, unfortunately for Birmingham, the city will no longer be playing host to the nationally favoured fashion and beauty exhibition as the show is moving up north to Liverpool. So to celebrate Birmingham as its primary host one last time, I was invited to explore what The Clothes Show had to offer this year.

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Bringing fashion, beauty, musical and dance creatives under one roof, the day provided insight into upcoming trends as well as offering special one-day shopping deals. At the heart of the event was the Rock the Runway catwalk show showcased in the Alcatel Fashion Theatre in association with Capital FM and presented by the stylish Laura Whitmore.

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It was everything a live show should be; vibrant, energetic, fun and most importantly, fashion forward! We even participated in The Mannequin Challenge part-way through the show. In years to come, we’ll probably look back at this moment and think “that was so 2016” but for now, it’s in fashion so why not just go with the flow. The models, dancers and choreographers did an excellent job putting on such an upbeat performance.

The Clothes Show really celebrates current popular culture and this is reflective in some of the exhibitors’ vision here at the event too. Take Fan Club Clothing as one example of the many exhibitors showcasing at the event. Sisters Felicity and Johanna use past popular cultural movements as inspiration for their collection of nostalgically driven slogan tees and sweatshirts. Sported by the likes of Fearne Cotton, their range represents a retro and quirky persona. A pretty cool concept, wouldn’t you agree?

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Other exhibitors included colleges local to the Birmingham area, such as Walsall College who presented works created by students in a way that inspires and invites aspiring fashion industry practitioners to enrol onto fashion courses.

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The Clothes Show doesn’t just stop at fashion, no. Ticket holders are also invited to beauty and aesthetical treatments like teeth whitening.

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I then grabbed the opportunity to informally catch up with key fashion industry influencer Caryn Franklin to discuss blogging and its powerful rise as an established profession in recent years.

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With Caryn a Professor of Diversity in Fashion and little fashion enthusiast me, we discussed the status of petite fashion bloggers and how we, as a niche, have the capability to perform in the industry following the success of plus size fashion.

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And that’s a wrap!

The Clothes Show is definitely an action packed day so if you’re considering attending, I would advise to wear comfy footwear as there is a lot of walking involved. The arena also provides cloakrooms to hang all coats and jackets so don’t worry about compromising on style should the weather not be bright during your travels.

For more information and highlights of the event, head over to The Clothes Show’s official website (available here).

Author: Fahmida Choudhury
Photographer: Steve Underhill

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This review is of the sole opinion of fashion blogger Fahmida Fashion and is not sponsored by The Clothes Show or any of its participating brands.

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