By Alexandra Moerschner
Manchester is set to become the heart of fashion, according to a new campaign this autumn.
Cityco management company are hoping their ‘Heart of Fashion’ campaign will send Manchester’s retail world into a style frenzy, with a host of fashion-focused events beginning in October.
Cityco chief executive Vaughan Allen said: “Without doubt, Manchester has the best range of fashion retailers outside of central London. The choice is second to none.
“This campaign is an opportunity to celebrate the great variety of shops we have here and entice more stylish shoppers to explore what Manchester has to offer.”
At the centre of the campaign is the recently opened Armani store on The Avenue, Spinning fields.
Ladieswear Manager at Armani, Nadia Ahmed, commented: “Although we have only been open a week, we’ve got some really positive feedback from the customers.
“Our previous customers love the new store as it is so much bigger with much more choice. The men can appreciate the architecture of the new building and the women are still enjoying the clothes.
The store is aiming to bring a mixture of clientele of all styles and all ages.
The older customer can still shop for the classic look from Collezione and the trendy, ready to wear style is being delivered by Emporio’s collection.
Victoria Slemensky, assistant stylist for the new store, said: “The display of the collections is much better thanks to the layout and shape of the new store.
“I think it will bring a lot of international shoppers to Manchester, who otherwise would have typically gone to the London stores.”
Other high-end stores are set to follow with DKNY, Mulberry, Oliver Sweeny, Flannels, All Saints and FK Bennett opening before Christmas.
Natasha Valentine, a 22-year-old fashion student from Liverpool, said: “I’ve started to travel to Manchester city centre more often, especially when I need a specific outfit or a certain look that I can’t find anywhere else.
“There’s such a great variety of shops, not just designer, but independent boutiques like Affleck’s Palace. They have unusual, unique pieces that you won’t find anywhere else.”
Debenhams is enjoying a refurbishment thanks to the campaign and Cityco are also helping House of Fraser Kendal’s celebrate their 175th anniversary.
Lisa Smith, Sales Assistant at Debenhams, commented: “There has been much improvement to the previous store, the look is fresher, more modern and seems to be attracting new customers.
“People are spending more time looking around the store and we are welcoming even more out of town shoppers.”
Fiona Wood, 32, is a frequent customer at the store and she said: “I love Debenhams, it is one of my favourite department stores. I think the refurbishment looks great, it adds more glamour to the shop as it had been looking slightly dated.”
The official opening of the refurbished store is Wednesday the 22nd September.
Debenhams is also holding a bridal fair the following weekend.
To coincide with these events, a 68-page style guide edited by Manchester Evening News columnist Helen Tither, will be available in hotel rooms and tourist information centres across the city.
The hand-bag sized directory will contain listings of over 200 stores, including independent shops and boutiques, as well as a culture guide to the city. It will be available to download from October.
Linked to the campaign are the Best of Manchester Fashion Awards, which will include the Young Designer, Independent Shop of the Year and the Lifetime Achievement Award.
For more information on the campaign, visit www.visitmanchester.com.