IT’S now into its 15th 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 March 21-24 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 15 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.
“We fully support the ‘Back in Belfast’ campaign after a disastrous last quarter for many in fashion retail, so this is a wonderful opportunity for retailers to get involved and entice the customers back in to the city and in to the shops.
“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.”
Cathy 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, March 23 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: “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, March 21 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,” Maggie said.
She added: “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, March 22.
Boutiques including Jourdan and Blush from the Lisburn Road will sit alongside key pieces from local designers Una Rodden, RUEDI, Grainne Maher and Nor Lisa among others.
Once again, there will be a scrumptious Fashion Tea on Saturday, March 23 and then closing up the week’s events is the ever popular Style Sunday event which takes place at James Street South restaurant on Sunday, March 24.
The event, which supports learning disability charity Mencap will once again include the best hair, beauty and make up advice from Fashionweek expert hair stylist Andrew Mulvenna and make up artist Paddy McGurgan as well as style advice and an intimate show of the most chic looks from the season. Places for this event can be booked directly at James Street South.
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 and look out for updates.