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A Non-Fashionista at Fashion Week

Wednesday 23 June 2010

I awake on a beautiful Saturday morning and realise that instead of spending the day basking in the sunshine, I actually have to do some work. The prospect of the final day of Brighton Fashion Week, though I’m sure it will be fun, still fills me with dread. I am no fashionista. Not by a long way. So, to firm up my position I decide to call up an international model and dear friend of mine, Elizabeth. Even if the Corn Exchange is full of trendies giving each other the hipster staredown, I can send Elizabeth in. She is a leggy six-footer full of fashion knowledge, so I should be okay.

We arrive early so we can have a browse round the various clothing and jewellery stalls. Well, not quite. I make sure we arrive early because I’m told there is a goody bag for the first hundred entrants. Upon arrival, it is clear we are too late. Even when I mention that I’m from SPINDLE magazine, there is nothing they can do. Onwards…

We take our seats for the Spindle selection, which features six designers hand-picked to show under the Spindle banner. This includes Brett le Bratt, OOPs! Fashion, Charlotte Haggerty, Dig For Victory and H.A.Y.T Menswear. To my surprise, most of the clothes actually seem quite wearable, and to my even greater shock the people modelling them look like real people! A far cry from my expectation of gormless, pallid skeletons modelling outfits made from balsa wood and pigeon vomit.

OOPs!’s work is fun and funky and is a great start to the show, and Brett’s menswear collection is a delight to behold. Bold prints, structured shapes and regatta wear are the order of the day, and it is to die for. Rounding out my personal favourites is the chunky knitwear by Helena of Hayt menswear (think Glastonbury stone circle chic) and Ailsa’s fierce womanswear creations (imagine Margo Leadbetter from ‘The Good Life’ as a high-powered business woman!)

We rush backstage to congratulate all involved when the inevitable happens: they are one model short for the next show, and I gently encourage Elizabeth to hop into an outfit and get on the runway. Although taken aback, she gamely agrees and disaster is averted. Phew!

The following evening at the end of fashion week party, held in the grandeur of the Hanbury Ballroom, everybody seems far more relaxed. I relish the opportunity to congratulate the designers and models that did a great job all week. Everyone lets their hair down and begins to jive on the dance floor, dominated by a huge projection of assorted clips from old movies. I fall to my knees several times in reverence to Garbo, Crawford and Harlow. There is not a single hipster staredown, and I’m pleasantly surprised by how friendly everyone involved has been.

I resolve that next year I will attend as many events as I can – hopefully decked head to toe in Brett le Bratt…

Words: Thomas Dearnley-Davison

Photography: Tristan Glinski