Newcastle Fashion Week 2013 Begins

Up until (too late) last year I didn’t even know Newcastle had a Fashion Week. Just goes to show that you can live in the heart of this city and still miss it’s hidden depths, sometimes not seeing things that are happening right under your nose. Yet more events for the North East to be proud of, I might add.

This year however I am making up for lost time.

Newcastle Fashion Week 2013 kicked off with a very swank champagne-soaked affair hosted by the Mercedes showroom on Scotswood Road, followed swiftly by a Fashion Weekend celebrating high street fashion, before the fashion big guns come out to play through the week. I was fortunate enough to receive a free ticket and thought I’d best put it to good use. I wandered along to the event, planning to do a quick lap, maybe staying to see one walk and then coming home again when I ran out of things to see (perks of living just around the corner). As it happened I ended up staying until the event closed. I went alone for research purposes, assuming my visit would be brief, but I bumped into some familiar faces and wound up having tea, cake and then cocktails with some of the NEBloggers girls. Looks like this new social aspect of is paying off. The French Oven (previously mentioned here) were providing some excellent nibbles at their little pop up cafe. I sampled a très tasty champagne macaron, amongst others. Livello were satisfying the crowds with marshmallow cocktails over on the other side of the room, in a pop up lounge bar.

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In other news we had a cosy chat over our cups of tea with Caryn Franklin, esteemed fashion guru, who I believe now thinks I’m a student(!) from Sunderland uni(!) but hey, if I can look like I could pass for 20-21? I’ll take that!

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In the end I stayed for most of the shows and, what was possibly the highlight for me, the talk and Q&A with the day’s panel of industry insiders and professionals, comprising of the afore mentioned Caryn Franklin, Samantha Bennett of ASOS Marketplace, Vita Taylor, Merchandising Manager for Motel, Louise Wedderburn of off Channel 4’s The  Human Mannequin and fashion blogger, and Victoria White, Editor of Company magazine.

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I have been reading Victoria’s personal blog detailing the trials and tribulations of restoring a petit french chateau with envy, so it was quite a treat to be seeing her in person. So much of what she was saying really resonated with me as I often feel like a bit of an… imposter when I do get a chance to meet up with other local bloggers and find out that so many of them have studied fashion journalism or similar appropriate industry experiences, leaving me feeling vastly ‘under qualified’ for something that was only ever supposed to be a hobby. I simply enjoy writing. I shouldn’t have to defend that to anyone and yet I find that I am doing it all the time! Victoria echoed a lot of my thoughts on the matter and confirmed my feeling that more often than not, it’s not your impressive list of qualifications that prove your worth but your actions, your life experience and the love of what you do.
Okay then, enough soppy cheese! I briefly contemplated staying with the other girls and queuing to ask Victoria a burning question but to be honest I didn’t have a single one. I’m not a reporter, I had no big question to have answered, she just seemed like my kind of woman. I’d rather have shared a bottle of wine with her (preferably at her place in France) than stiffly asked her a forced formal question.

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Having had a snoop though the clothes and accessories on offer, and a forage into the Fashion Week Zen Area I realised that time had passed quicker than I’d noticed and the event was wrapping up. I was looking for a final treat before calling it a day. I found the perfect answer at the Beauty & The Spa stand where the girls there kindly treated me to a quick manicure, even though it was nearly time to pack up. I now have a lovely fresh coat of inky purple polish in preparation for event two on my personal NFW calendar; one of the official fringe events tonight at the old post office on Pink Lane. But more on that later.

To be continued…

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