"It’s a platform where young, independent emerging designers can showcase their collections here."
On October 11, 2013, Birmingham hosted one of the most anticipated regional fashion awards of the year. Held at The Penthouse suite in Birmingham City Centre, the Midlands Fashion Awards (MFA) was most definitely a night to remember.
The brains behind MFA is Jennifer Eason, a fashion teacher. Jennifer thought of the idea in 2009, when she found that there were no credible fashion shows or awards outside of London:
“It’s a platform that I created five years ago now, to promote up and coming fashion designers, and it has grown hugely since 2009. So it’s inviting designers who want to showcase and who don’t want to go down to London,” says Jennifer.
The popularity that MFA has gained over the short space of five years is truly outstanding. With MFA being such a popular night, all tickets were sold out prior to the event so that meant there were no tickets on the door, and any last minute fashion loving youngsters were sadly turned away.
ITV presenter and journalist, Lucy Kite hosted the event, and some of top names in the Midlands judged the hugely competitive categories. Judges included Managing Director of MFA, Jennifer herself, and Alison Dewy from Fashion Angel.
Upon arrival, guests were gifted with a goody bag and VIP ticket holders had further access to a pre-drinks reception and scrumptious canapés. Guests had a glass of wine to hand while watching the Midlands’ newest emerging talent walk towards them.
The runway show began with the Young Designers category. The nominees included Katie Collins, Sarah King, Danielle Warren and Jade Hughes with their ready to wear collections. After them was Katie Peake and Pin-Chen Lin with their Evening Wear collections.
Next up were the Emerging Designers group, which consisted of Aleah Leigh Designs and Iga Zwierzycka Haute Couture collections. HK by Harinder Kaur and Emma Charlotte Finely staged their Evening Wear collections. DEW organic clothing showcased their ethical evening wear collection.
Iga Zwierzycka won the category for Emerging Designer. Her collection inspired by the Japanese youth culture of Gundams – Japanese animated productions of giant robots in combat. Iga’s use of leather and juxtaposed tailoring really matches up to her inspiration.
To finish off the night was the Independent Designers showcase. Nominees included LG by Lisa Gibson, Catalyst Clothing by Tamara Joseph and Fazane Malik Limited Edition Womenswear all of whom presented ready to wear collections. Bijou Boudoir and Nakota by Tiffany Marshall flaunted their Haute Couture collections.
One of the highlight collections from the independent designers was Sparklewren’s. Birmingham based designer, Jenni Hampshire, is the creative head behind the fashion label, Sparklewren corsets, a true luxury brand of the future.
Sparklewren’s had a variety of beautiful corsets and sparkles glide down the runway making it a really beautiful sight to watch.
The most sought after position was won by Fazane Malik. She scooped up the Independent Designer of the Year award with her debut Spring/Summer 2014 collection.
Fazane started up her own womenswear fashion label just over a year ago in 2012. Since then, she and her brother and business partner, Joseph have never looked back.
Fazane produces limited edition runs of 50 pieces of each style, so if you want to wear award winning clothing, you better be quick!
Her Spring Summer 2014 collection was a visual delight, consisting of print, detail and elegant tailoring. Soft chiffons and silks matched with a signature cross-hatch pattern, a real strong contrast which gave the collection life. Speaking about how she goes about designing her elegant and sophisticated label, Fazane says:
“I start with my fabric choices and design into these rather than sketching shapes and then finding the fabrics.”
“I love fabrics with interesting textures and designs as well as my core use of a beautiful matt sand washed silk satin for my signature print. So using exciting fabrics doesn’t need much styling, the fabric will speak for itself.”
One of the runway favourites was the black jumpsuit with gentle pocket detail. DESIblitz predicts this to be a top trend. After all the jumpsuit is a timeless classic.
The colour throughout Fazane’s collection was royal blue and a hint of black, it encapsulated all things British.
Also at the event was a selection of work from the emerging talent of the Midlands. Maybe they will be showcasing their designs on the catwalk next year!
The evening was completed with a performance from the Michael Bublé of the Midlands; a lovely set of songs from Scott Finley. The venue was intimate and allowed easy networking and the catwalk ran smoothly, the only thing that was absent was the presence of men’s fashion.
Make-up Artist of MFA, Jules Cardozo-Marsh admitted: “What Jenny has set up here in the Midlands, it’s a platform where young, independent emerging designers can showcase their collections here.”
“We can really shout about what talent is hidden in the Midlands, because we don’t really associate fashion with the Midlands. But as we have proven over the last 5 years, there’s a tremendous amount of talent here, and it keeps getting bigger and better every year,” she added.
Here is the full list of winners for the 2013 Midlands Fashion Awards:
MFA Fashion Stylist of the Year
Sy- Ann Holden
MFA Make up Artist of the Year
MFA Accessories Designer of the Year
Yu Shan Li
MFA Young Designer of the Year
MFA Emerging Designer of the Year
MFA Independent Designer of the Year
With so much emphasis on talent in and around London, MFA believes that Londoners should take note of all the amazing designs and fashions that are emerging outside, especially in the Midlands!
Overall MFA was an amazing evening full of entertainment and fashion. Congratulations to all the winners! We eagerly anticipate Midlands Fashion Awards 2014, with the hopes of some menswear too!