The Christmas shopping season began with a bang as the Manchester Loves Fashion event kept hundreds of young fashionistas entertained throughout the night on Thursday.
The evening of fashion shows, makeovers, and one-night-only designer discounts was a perfect contrast to the Black Friday trend that is now seen as the starting pistol for online Christmas shopping.
Ticket holders were greeted with drinks and free goodie bags on arrival that included a free makeover and photoshoot with Piranha Snaps, discount vouchers on designer clothes, free samples of beauty products and much more.
The highlight of the event was the catwalk fashion show that featured both national and local designers.
JUDGES' DESK: The panel for Boss Model Management
Rachel Perera from Piranha Ventures, who organised the event, said she wanted to bring as many different brands and styles together on the same stage. “This is a showcase of what Manchester has to offer,” she said.
It was also an opportunity for many smaller designers to gain some publicity. Bryan Oknyansky had a stall at the event showcasing his unique designer footwear made from solid aluminium and titanium. His brand, Shoes by Bryan, got the kind of attention such a gifted designer deserves.
Other stall-holders were not so successful despite selling their goods at cost price. Some voiced their concerns that the lighting of their stall wasn’t what they expected and that more could have been done to direct shoppers to the upper floor.
Some of the more expensive designer brands also struggled for business. Hayle Osborne, the manager of Jigsaw, felt that there was a slight disconnect with the young shoppers looking for cheap bargains and the high-end designer fashion that her shop sells.
Lambros Karaselos from Harvey Nichols saw this as an opportunity to attract a new customer base. He said: “Some people think Harvey Nichols is too expensive for them but we want people to see that that isn’t the case.”
LUCKY DIP: Hot Like Us stars Helen Holt and Stuart Pilkington picking raffle winners
The event ended with the finals for the Boss Model Management competition to find the next big name in catwalk modelling.
The contestants were given a few tips on how to walk the runway without forgetting to smile by Helen Holt and Stuart Pilkington; two of the stars of BBC3 show Hot Like Us.
The winners of the competition were Alex Ewart, 22, from Knutsford, and Cassandra, 21, from Bolton. Both of them voiced hopes that this opportunity will lead to a full time career in modelling.
Alex had never modelled before and it was his mum who applied for him. When asked what he enjoyed most about modelling he replied: “I like the attention you get on a catwalk.”
Cassandra, who wants to emulate her idol Brazilian supermodel Adiana Lima, said she thought one of the blond girls would win it. When asked what it felt like when her name was announced as the winner, she said: “I was completely speechless. I didn’t believe it was true.”