February Newsletter 2012

25th February 2012


London Fashion Week was exciting for Fashion Fringe.  Six of our past winners showed on the schedule (Basso & Brooke; Erdem; Aminaka Wilmont; JENA.THEO; Corrie Nielsen and FYODOR GOLAN) with FYODOR GOLAN getting a front page photograph in The Independent and the Scottish issue of The Times.

This season we partnered with the Corinthia Hotel London which hosted an event for The Fashion Fringe Trio – a finalist from each of the last three years, who did not win but have proved themselves worthy of being included in the Fashion Fringe stable of young talents.  Elliot Atkinson (2009), Alice Palmer (2010) and Nabil Nayal (2011), presented capsule collections before an international group of 150 visitors who were able to not only enjoy the clothes but also the fabulous venue.  Thanks to Gabrielle Shaw of Gabrielle Shaw Communications and Matthew Dixon, General Manager of Corinthia Hotel London, and their teams.  The two spectacular penthouses put at our disposal, complete with champagne, delicious canapés and two handsome and very efficient butlers, people lingered – and I don’t blame them.  This was a really elegant respite from the bustle of the outside world’s and we all enjoyed the privilege of being rich – or pretending to be for a couple of hours – as much as the sophisticated clothes and the chat with the designers, who were on hand throughout to talk about their creations & answer questions.  Apart from the Sunday Time Style Team and Sasha Wilkins of Liberty London Girl, we were pleased to welcome journalists and buyers from Europe and beyond in this venture that we hope to be able to repeat next season.



We are about to start our search for this year’s Finalists and ultimate winner, which begins on March 12th in Edinburgh.  This year we have decided to go back to the national wide Fashion Fringe Road Show which we had in earlier years.  With the generous help of young British designers we are taking Fashion Fringe to universities & colleges around the country – but with a twist.  We are visiting the colleges and areas where our guest designers grew up and studied:

-          Christopher Kane in Scotland

-          Gareth Pugh in Northumbria

-          Matthew Williamson in Manchester

-          Giles in Nottinghamshire

-          Julien MacDonald in Brighton

-          Erdem at the Royal College of Art (as to take him back to Canada would, we feel, have been stretching things – not least the Fashion Fringe budget!)

If you want to hear them talking about their early days and how they have reached their eminence of today, check out times and venues on our website – and come along!


Our Accessories Award continues this year with a partnership with Roger Vivier for the second year, a fact that pleases us immensely.  Not only is it a joy to be able to work with Bruno Frisoni for another year, our path is steered for us with the expertise of Elaine Sullivan of Roger Vivier in London, a woman whose efficiency and sense of order makes our cooperation with Roger Vivier a pleasure.  As for the winner, who enjoys a six month apprenticeship in Paris, working closely with Bruno & his team.


So, what else in what is proving to be a very pleasing and rewarding ninth year of Fashion Fringe’s existence?


Well, Hilary Alexander, much loved fashion editor of the Telegraph, now retired, but not in any way diminished in her energy and enthusiasm, is working with Corrie Nielsen who is designing a very special dress for a very special occasion with the Horse Guards coming up soon – watch this space.


Rita Britton, legendary owner of Pollyanna, one of the coolest fashion shops in the UK based in Barnsley, is working with Nabil Nayal, a fellow citizen of Yorkshire who, lucky fellow, is benefitting from her immense knowledge of dress; unrivalled experience in fashion retain and her good Yorkshire practical commonsense.  I can think of no better fortune that could attend a young designer just setting off on a career.


Finally, we were all delighted when London & Partners, the official promotional organisation for London, asked us to nominate two of our young labels to each design a bag for their prestigious International Confex at Excel this year.

We suggested our first winners (Basso & Brooke) and our latest (FYODOR GOLAN) and we are very pleased that both of their designers were chosen and have gone into production.  What out for this limited edition.  These designers are strong, attractive and unique – exactly what we have strived to make Fashion Fringe over the last 9 years.

A bit about London & Partners – Our company attracts and delivers value to business, students and visitors. London & Partners is a not-for-profit public private partnership, funded by the Mayor of London and our network of commercial partners.

We work in partnership with organisations in London and across the world to deliver our vision and mission.


The next excitement, about which we are really very thrilled, is the announcement of our new chair who will preside for this year and remain with us for next years, leading us up to our tenth anniversary – of which a lot more in future newsletters.   A good chair is of vital importance in an enterprise like Fashion Fringe and we have had the best.  As with so many things to do with Fashion Fringe I am overwhelmed by the generosity shown to us by very busy people.  Not one [person asked to be our chair has hesitated for a moment.  Tom Ford; Donatella Versace; Roland Mouret and Claudia Schiffer: all have given their time, experience and knowledge, as have committee men embers such as Anne Pitcher (Managing Director of Selfridges), Professor Roy Peach (the former Dean of Postgraduate Studies at the London College of Fashion) and Angela Quaintrell, whose tireless work not just for Fashion Fringe, The Centre for Fashion Enterprise; the British Fashion Council and her anonymous but seemingly endless support for young tyro designers is an object lesson to us all.  Why has this woman not been honoured by the Queen?   For all that she does for our young designers 0 much of it without pay?


Love Colin

Colin McDowell, Founder & Creative Director

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