It’s now into its fifteenth season, but Belfast’s very own West Coast Cooler FASHIONWEEK is one event that is not going out of style as it remains to be the hottest show in town when it comes to all things glamorous and fashionable.
Despite the cold spell, the atmosphere at this season’s launch was full of the joys of spring and summer as crowds gathered to hear all about this season’s line-up for spring/summer 13.
This season’s event will take place from 21-24 March across various venues in Belfast with the key catwalk shows moving to the exciting new home at the iconic Ulster Museum in Botanic Gardens. The contemporary and minimalist atrium at the historic building will be transformed into a fashion haven as hundreds of fashion fans gather in March to celebrate all things style.
Cathy Martin, director of FASHIONWEEK said: “After fifteen seasons and nine years, FASHIONWEEK has become a much celebrated and anticipated event among people of Northern Ireland. It provides local retailers and designers the opportunity to showcase their designs and talents and very much supports and encourages local businesses. Once again, we will be showcasing all the key collections from the high street as well as the finest established and up-and-coming local designers from all over Northern Ireland to create an exciting first glance at all the latest trends.
She added: “Key looks this season include pretty pastels, striking stripes, flirty florals and eye catching graphic prints. In terms of colours it’s all about the bright neons, monochrome and also white and neutrals are big for spring/summer too. Shows always sell out so we’d encourage anyone who wants to come along to any of the events to snap up their tickets!”
Karen Anderson from West Coast Cooler added: “We’re always excited when FASHIONWEEK comes round again and this season is no different. Although it is now entering its ninth year, each event brings something new and exciting to those who attend. Keen fashionistas are always eager to snap up the limited edition front row seats and sit back with a West Coast Cooler to enjoy the shows. There’s something for everyone, no matter what their budget or fashion favourites are.”
The High Street fashion show is always popular and will take place on Saturday 23 March at 8pm. Retailers from the high street taking part include, Marks & Spencer, Oasis, Warehouse, French Connection, Jigsaw, Benetton and Internacionale as well as Dorothy Perkins, Debenhams, Miss Selfridge, Quiz, Blue Inc, Gap, Republic, Wallis, Laura Ashley, New Look, Burton and Exhibit from CastleCourt. Once again the OUTLET Banbridge are returning for a third season to showcase their various collections.
Siobhan McKeown, Marketing Manager from The OUTLET said they’re thrilled to be back again for another season: “The OUTLET is delighted to be a part of Belfast Fashion Week for a third year running. This amazing event showcases the best in retail in Northern Ireland. Our brands, Oasis, LK Bennett, M&S Outlet, DKNY Jeans and many more, relish the opportunity to feature the latest high street trends.”
George at ASDA will showcase a major spring 2013 collection on Thursday 21 March as one of the opening events that week and Maggie Jardine, regional manager of George at ASDA NI said they’re thrilled to be taking part in the biggest fashion event of the year: “FASHIONWEEK is a fantastic opportunity to show off our upcoming trends to customers both old and new. We’re dedicated to keeping on top of the latest looks to ensure customers remain stylish without breaking the bank. We’re very pleased to be showing off some of our lovely spring/summer pieces on the great platform that FASHIONWEEK offers – an audience of stylish and glamorous ladies who I think will be very impressed with our latest collection.”
Boutiques from right across Northern Ireland will also be highlighted in the designer/boutique night on Friday 22 March. Boutiques including Diamond Dolls in Banbridge and Jourdan and Blush from the Lisburn Road will sit alongside key pieces from local designers Una Rodden, RUEDI, Grainne Maher, Leonora and Nor Lisa among others.
New on the agenda this season is an exciting and purse friendly ‘fashion swap’ which will take place on Saturday 23 March at IKEA, Holywood Exchange. Everyone is invited to come along and swap ‘til you drop and exchange like for like garments through a traffic light system ensuring a fair trade. There will be no exchange of cash simply an exchange of very fashionable clothes!
In keeping with the season’s floral theme, Ferguson’s Flowers, who provided the beautiful floral backdrop featured on the advertising campaign, will also be providing stunning bouquets and floral arrangements to ensure the perfect backdrop to showcase all the spring/summer fashion at the shows.
Lisa Ferguson, from Ferguson’s Flowers said they’re delighted to be on board for the first time: “This is our very first Belfast FASHIONWEEK and we’re so excited to be taking part. Spring/summer is the perfect season for us as it gives us the chance to show off all our beautiful flowers in the most stunning arrangements whilst reinforcing the key trends of the season – pastels and florals.”
Andrew Mulvenna, who is returning for a second season to make sure the models are sporting the latest hair trends, says he loves being part of the event: “Obviously I love doing hair and FASHIONWEEK provides a great opportunity to experiment and showcase a variety of styles for all hair types so it’s a dream to be involved with. There’s such buzz throughout the whole week and it’s amazing to be part of something which just seems to go from strength to strength with every season. In terms of hairstyles for this season I’m looking forward to showing off some gorgeous looks and will be experimenting with texture and volume to create a mixture of commercial and high fashion runway hair. Deep side partings, low ponytails, 60s beehives and controlled waves are all big looks for hair this spring/summer, giving an urban but easily managed edge to your look.”
Tickets for the main catwalk shows (priced £20) are available from the Belfast Welcome Centre Box Office on 02890246609 or online via the links on www.belfastfashionweek.com For the latest information on West Coast Cooler FASHIONWEEK log onto www.facebook.com/belfastfw & look out for updates.