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Northern Fashion Week Preview: Which British Designers to Watch This Summer

by Faith Suronku-Lindsay

Following on from its premier this time last year, Northern Fashion Week has now cemented itself firmly onto the fashion calendar. 


With a range of showcases planned from the 14th through to the 16th of July, the weekend is set to highlight the stunningly vast talent amongst Northern-based designers. 


Attending the preview on Quay Street last week (July 4th), we gained insight into some of the work on show. From streetwear to bridal, luxury leather to recent graduate collections, each designer offers something completely unique to the next. 


One term that repeatedly echoed around the room was ‘sustainability’. As almost every designer spoke of their mission to create and showcase sustainable pieces, an issue heavily prevalent in the current fast vs slow fashion debate. 


Not that there is much of a debate to be had, as each would passionately explain to you. These designers made it clear that sustainable, ethically made pieces are the future - and in the many ways are already the current reality of Northern English fashion.


Image by Faith Suronku-Lindsay

Here are just a sample of some of the designers to look out for 2023 Northern Fashion Week:


Isobel Dawson


Bold colours, dramatic silhouettes, intricate detail. These are the elements at the forefront of Isobel Dawson’s graduate collections. 


Dawson’s use of bright and daring colour forces their designs to stand apart from many of the others, and yet paired with simplicity of the functionality of the pieces through pockets and button details, allowing for their pieces to be more than just admired, but understood. 


The dress at the forefront of one of their main collections (pictured above) was created to acknowledge the 2022 floods in Pakistan, a devastating atrocity which brought a resurgence of attention to the ongoing climate crisis. 


It is from this event that Dawson decided to create a wardrobe of practical pieces which could be used as a safety measure by flood victims. A dress, parachute pants, and a jacket can all be unbuttoned and unfolded to form a water raft. It is this unique sense of practicality which places Dawson at the forefront of up and coming designers to watch in this new era of ethical, and practical, fashion.


Image by Faith Suronku-Lindsay


Meg J Garner


Meg J Gardner’s strong sense of individuality and independence is key to their appeal in this new wave of fashion emerging in the North. 


Gardner spoke of a love for Latin and classics and, in seeing the presentation of only one of four collections to be showcased at fashion week, classic elegance is clear. 


The simplicity of silhouette and colour in their Legends of Genesis collection (pictured above), is not to be mistaken for simplicity in its crafting. 


With each petal having been crafted by hand and pieces made bespoke, as to not waste material, Gardner’s pieces are intrinsically unique, allowing for the pieces to stand by themselves. 


They have a profound passion for the evolution of fashion, and use their love of classics and historical elements to keep sustainability and the recycling of ideas and resources at the core of the label, commonly disregarding trends and fads in order to do so.


Image by Faith Suronku-Lindsay

 

Sammie Turner 


Sammie Turner’s graduate collection, entitled Control. Over. Your. Own. Life., offers a welcome break from some of the gendered pieces on show. 


The unnatural and largely unusual shapes as well as the minimal use of colour, opting for shades of grey and black, encourages the unisex nature of the collection. Allowing for us to focus on the pieces themselves, as opposed to who might wear them, presents Turner’s work as a rebellion against the common culture of gendered fashion.


In our modern world of fashion, there is a clear emphasis on androgyny and Turner more than fits in. 


Notably, when asked by a tutor to add more colour, Turner kindly declined. This anecdote serves as evidence of their awareness and self-confidence as a creative. These are the qualities which make Turner one to watch this fashion week and beyond!


Northern Fashion Week takes place from Friday 14th July to Sunday 16th July 2023 in Manchester. 


Edited by Emily Duff

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