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Behind the scenes at Winchester Fashion Week

PUBLISHED: 11:48 27 April 2016 | UPDATED: 11:48 27 April 2016

Winchester Fashion Week on the catwalk

Winchester Fashion Week on the catwalk

Winchester BID

Now in its sixth year, Winchester Fashion Week returns from April 25-30, Emma Caulton takes a peek behind the scenes

Want to know the trends for the new season? How to upcycle vintage finds? Put together a fabulous holiday wardrobe that fits your baggage allowance? Or take the stress out of dressing for a special occasion? Discover all this plus make-up makeovers and pop-up shops at this year’s Winchester Fashion Week. This is an inspired fashion fest, organised by Winchester BID and sponsored by the University of Winchester, with something for everyone from fashionistas to busy mums looking to refresh their wardrobes. The week culminates in a grand catwalk finale featuring local designers and retailers, national labels and stars of the future at the Guildhall.


Kay May, Winchester School of Art

“Winchester School of Art (WSA) first became involved in Winchester Fashion Week two years ago with a Fashion Trail of our students’ work featuring in Winchester’s retailers’ windows. Last year we again installed a Fashion Trail and our BA Fashion Design students had two scenes on the catwalk – their wonderfully creative work providing an exciting contrast to the more traditional scenes. This year we will be building on that success by showing our MA Fashion Design students’ sustainable fashion garments on the catwalk, upcycled from clothing donated by the PDSA. Expect a treat!

“In addition, each year we commission a student to create a fashion illustration to complement Winchester Fashion Week’s logo, and it is always a pleasure to work with students on this and see the quality of the drawings they produce.”

This year WSA is also running two pop-up shops on Friday and Saturday in The Brooks shopping centre in conjunction with two local charities: Oxfam and the PDSA. The theme is remaking, restyling and embellishing. Working with PDSA, MA Fashion Design students’ upcycled, sustainable garments, T-shirts and the pick of the PDSA’s charity shops will be displayed. While with Winchester’s Oxfam shop, hand-picked garments will be styled by Fashion Marketing and Management students who will present their ideas on how to wear these garments in both the pop-up shop and on a catwalk in The Brooks.

Pieces by Reem Alasadi will also be on display at the PDSA/WSA pop-up shop and Reem will be producing the WSA scene on the catwalk finale, showcasing the MA Fashion Design students’ upcycled fashion. Alongside her role as Associate Professor of Fashion Practice at WSA, Reem is a celebrated international fashion designer with her own label, House of Reem, inspired by her love of vintage. Her career has seen her work with the likes of Stella McCartney and attract a loyal following among stylists and designers, including those working for Dior, Gucci, Marni and Prada, and she counts Lucinda Chambers (British Vogue) and Sarah Mower (British Fashion Council) as fans. She is particularly known for originality and artisanship, and putting together the unexpected – such as trimming an army jacket with lace.

The Winchester look

Kay May suggests: “Winchester’s style has evolved considerably in the nearly 30 years I have lived here, and I would say it combines traditional country style with the eclecticism of the growing hub of creative industries in the city.”

Share a style tip

Reem Alasadi has been quoted as saying: “I don’t follow trends at all [...] I get inspired just walking around and looking at people – from life itself.”


Laura Ward, Brides of Winchester

“For Winchester Fashion Week we will be holding our popular Dressing the Mums evening, as it’s not just the bride and groom in the limelight. It’s the perfect time for Mother’s of the bride and groom to start to think about their outfits for a summer wedding. We will also be taking part in the catwalk show once again, which we are really looking forward to.

“The event is a very relaxed open house with refreshments, held on Tuesday, 26 April, 5-7pm, and we invite local fashion businesses to attend, including Marvellous Millinery, and Charisma and Honeysuckle boutiques.”

Guests will sit under the chandeliers and among acres of lace and silk of glamorous gowns by Stewart Parvin, contemporary designs by Suzanna Neville, romantic styles by Sassi Holford, others by Blue Bridalwear inspired by style icons such as Audrey Hepburn, and dresses with an ethereal soft vintage look by Charlie Brear (among others).

Laura herself also has useful advice for mums and brides, such as considering the importance of the venue: “It’s an opportunity to dress up, but how you dress depends on the style of the wedding. A beach, rustic barn or woodland venue is very different to, for example, somewhere like Lainston House or Tylney Hall.”

She also explains how the fashion for bridal gowns changes slowly: “When Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, was married she was ahead of the fashion for lots of lace and longer sleeves. She really influenced people, but we’re seeing a move, particularly from next year, towards silk organza skirts. We’re also moving towards designs with lower backs.”

White is not as popular as you may expect. Laura says: “White is difficult to wear, especially if you’re pale skinned. Ivory is the most popular shade as it’s more forgiving.”

Other tips include wearing over-skirts and sparkly belts to change the style of a dress, taking it from formal ceremony to relaxed evening ‘do’, and dyeing shoes afterwards so they can be worn again.

Share a style tip

“Less is more! Look at the cut and quality of materials when buying. Pick a few quality garments and accessories that go with them rather than spend on lots of cheaper pieces.”

Style advice for mums

“Don’t be too influenced by high street fashions. Remember if you’re in the bridal party, you’re in the photographs, and those will be around forever, so keep it sophisticated and elegant. If you’re comfortable wearing a hat, go for it as it really adds to an outfit. If the thought of a hat is too much, why not go for a hatinator?”


Nicola Davis, My Personal Style

“I am a multi-award-winning personal stylist and I’m passionate about helping women and men look and feel fabulous by showing them the colours and clothes that work best for them.

“As well as offering individual colour and style consultations, personal shopping and wardrobe weeding etc, I also run a programme of workshops including Accessorising with Style, Capsule Wardrobe, Yummy Mummy Style, and Discovering Your Style Personality.

“It’s all about giving people confidence... however many have said that they’ve also saved money as they’re no longer buying mistakes.

“This is my first year being actively involved in Winchester Fashion Week, although I’ve attended as a visitor in the past and enjoyed the buzz and the opportunity to take part in different events, and the fashion show is always a highlight.

“I will be giving a talk at The Corner House on the evening of Monday, 25 April, on creating a capsule holiday wardrobe, and demonstrating how to pack for a fortnight’s holiday within a single cabin-sized suitcase. I will bring along my own suitcase and clothes so that the audience can see exactly how this can be achieved. I’ll show how by mixing, matching and accessorising you can build a flexible and stylish capsule wardrobe that takes you from beach to bar, sight-seeing to sunbathing. Afterwards, I’ll be answering individual colour and style queries, and one lucky guest will win a free colour analysis worth £115.”

The Winchester look

“I think Winchester has its own style. I love the variety of small independent boutiques like Pavilion and Maxims as well as the fact that there are some great high street brands. Wintonians are generally a pretty stylish bunch and quite discerning in what they buy.”

Share a style tip

“Most Winchester women tend to have ‘Classic’ style profiles so I enjoy showing them the styles and colours that will become their wardrobe favourites, but also how they can introduce a little more personality into what they wear and keep things current by incorporating a couple of the season’s key trends. This season’s trends include ruffles, which will appeal to women who like to look feminine, and lingerie-style slip dresses which look fantastic on younger women. There’s also a choice of wider leg trousers which work well on taller women and those of us not blessed with slender legs. Dangly earrings are also very ‘in’ and a good way of updating your look. But my best style tip is to dress the body you have, rather than the one you wish you had! Find styles that suit your natural shape, scale and proportions and that work for your style personality and lifestyle.”

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