West Coast Cooler Belfast Fashion Week – one of the most eagerly anticipated events in any Belfast fashionista’s calendar. For me, this would be my sixth season, but on the 21st January, the event itself was very fittingly launching its 21st season, yet another milestone for founder Cathy Martin.
Having found its home last year in the gorgeous and quirky LIFE Church on Bruce Street, Belfast, the event has grown to become a gathering of friends and familiar faces, particularly on launch day, when we dolled up (well, I turned up in my most glamorous work attire, but needs must!!) to hear what was in store for another very exciting season.
This year, Belfast Fashion Week launched a four-day extravangaza from 10-13 March 2016, with a packed calendar of their famed nightly catwalk shows, featuring high-street favourites, independent retailers and some of Northern Ireland’s hottest local designers. And in keeping with tradition, fashion week staples Sushi Saturday and Style Sunday will round off this fashionable long weekend in style.
Beginning on Thursday 10 March, WCCFW will kick off with a day of ‘Cutting It’ workshops and seminars, geared towards those with a keen interest in the fashion, film and costume industry, perfect for fashion writers, bloggers, stylists and media fanatics alike. I’ll certainly be keeping a close eye on this one. Later that evening, the catwalk will showcase the very best of our designer boutiques and local designers, both of which are aplenty in our small country! Friday evening brings us high street gals the best of the High Street, with retailers including Next, Marks & Spencer, Castle Court, Warehouse and much more.
I know what you’re thinking. What’s a girl to do on a Saturday evening during fashion week, now that we’ve covered the high street, the independents and the local designers. Well, could I interest you in the Fashion Awards?? Yes, that’s right. After years of showing off the best of Northern Ireland’s fashion scene, Belfast Fashion Week are rewarding the retailers for their hard work with a bespoke award from none other than local designer Grainne Maher. Categories will recognise retailers, designers, models and even bloggers for their contribution to fashion in Belfast and beyond.
Belfast Fashion Week Director Cathy Martin said: “I’m sure everyone will agree that there is some incredible creative talent here in Northern Ireland and it’s time to acknowledge and celebrate what we have on our doorsteps. I watched with pride as former Belfast Fashion Week participant and Magherafelt man J.W. Anderson spectacularly and deservedly won both Female and Male Designer of the Year at last year’s British Council Fashion Awards, and it’s only right that we give local designers and retailers recognition for their work too.”
With such a spectacular season on the horizon, it’s time we all started saving for that inevitable fashion wish list – but I’ll definitely be booking my catwalk tickets first! For the full schedule, visit www.belfastfashionweek.com