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Leeds Fashion Initiative Launch

28 November 2015
Leeds Fashion Initiative Launch
Last November saw the launch of the Leeds Fashion Initiative as celebrities, journalists, bloggers and fashion insiders congregated together to mark the beginning of a three year plan to revitalise the City's fashion, clothing and textiles scene. Brought together by Leeds' much-loved independent concept store Lambert's Yard, the initiative received phenomenal support from both industry and educational organisations to help put the City back on the fashion map where it belongs. As the chosen destination to house the prestigious event, Leeds City Museum was transformed into a fashion frenzy with a catwalk show exhibiting incredible independent fashion.

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With aspirations to restore Leeds' industrial landscape and support emerging fashion designers, the LFI will be developed by the Centre for Fashion Enterprise at London College of Fashion who also plan to establish the first Fashion Design Incubator outside the capital. At what is surely an exciting time for all involved in Leeds' fashion scene, the LFI has gained support from Leeds City Council, major fashion houses, educational partners including Leeds College of Art, Leeds Beckett University, University of Huddersfield and University of Leeds, along with sponsorships from Land Securities, Key Logistics and Torque, with their collaboration ultimately making the LFI viable.

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A word that echoed throughout Leeds City Museum on the night, collaboration, was what Lambert's Yard's Retail Director Adam Jagger believed was the backbone of the strategy, stating, “Collaboration is at the heart of the LFI - the core belief that everyone has something to offer that is mutually beneficial. We’re proud to be bringing the old with the new, presenting young new designers in a city with a long history in fashion and textiles.” Other speakers included Leader of Leeds City Council, Judith Blake who said that 'the Council are very pleased to offer it their support' whilst representative of London College of Fashion, Ishwari Thopte explained why Leeds was the “perfect City” to deliver the strategies they have in place owing to its strong fashion heritage.

The highly-anticipated runway show followed the speeches as we were able to feast our eyes on looks from both established and emerging independent designers. The brands that helped to create the looks for the catwalk included one of the UK's leading designers and luxury British fashion brand Aquascutum, Christopher Raeburn, known for his unique and innovative take on men's and women's fashion and Agi & Sam, curators of noteworthy menswear collections which place a strong emphasis on humour and print. Key looks also came from Korean born fashion designer Rejina Pyo who creates stunning feminine garments and merges them with colours and graphic shapes to achieve stand-out collections; award winning British designer Giles Deacon with his renowned Giles by Giles Deacon collection and shoe designer Terry de Havilland with his flamboyant and sought-after footwear designs.

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Local talent was also showcased, from progressive menswear label, Studio 805, led by Andrew Bannister-Bailey who graduated from Leeds College of Art & Design with a first class Fashion Design degree, womenswear label Cabba who offer gorgeous wardrobe staples with a fun twist and Danielle Romeril, a vibrant, youthful and exciting womenswear label with a fresh take on contemporary fashion. Market leaders in the textiles industry, A.W. Hainsworth & Sons have been manufacturing iconic cloth in Yorkshire for over 200 years and their cloth was used to make many of the garments featured on the runway.

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When it came to the beauty of the show, the captivating and eccentric styles were created by Westrow Hairdressing and Architect Hair. The girls sported flat slicked-down roots with middle partings and contrasting voluminous ends whilst the boys’ hair was understated and slicked down to one side. For the makeup, Leeds makeup artist Seema Ghir and her team created stunning fresh and glowing faces for the models with neutral colours and an emphasis on strong, shimmering cheekbones.

An after party then took place at Lambert's Yard with cocktails provided by The Botanist to mark both the end of the evening's celebrations and the start of the City's fashion rejuvenation.

Hannah is head of Retail Therapy and Health and Beauty at Leeds Living. She is an English Language Graduate with a penchant for all things fashion and beauty.