For one week only, Brighton was taken over by a horde of passionate and committed individuals, inviting us to take a look inside the world of an all-inclusive Fashion Week. Yes I said inclusive!
Now don’t get me wrong, there should be no mistake between inclusivity and lack of quality. Brighton Fashion Week merely binned the pretence and celebrated a pure, stripped back appreciation for genuine design talent. But this is no cop out. It seems with big Hollywood-style budgets, the industry can get trapped in its own importance. We remember everything other than the collections themselves, somehow getting absorbed by irrelevant detail… the who’s and the where’s. Not the what.
The thing about Brighton is that it does have a diverse existence but across from the Saint James Street carnival of latex and pageantry, Brighton holds a sophisticated but friendly edge that you just don’t get in a lot of cities. Sure there’s a cosmopolitan vibe, the vegans, the queens and the cyclists but don’t let this blur your view on what’s bubbling beneath the surface.
There was plenty to see and do at this year’s BFW, from catwalks to exhibitions and installations around the city; a highlight being the Zeitgeist show. The setting was striking and the venue would rival anything London has to offer, with a runway spanning the entire length of All Saints Church in Hove, a real show stopper that gave the evening that added bit of extravagance.
Showcasing their work were a diverse line up of designers, some having cut their teeth at previous BFW’s but it has to be said that the show was stolen by a handful of incredible collections. Kay Kwok transformed Neoprene using geometric printed tailoring that worked perfectly in comparison to the gothic setting… and of course, there was huge expectation on headliner, Jess Eaton. After her well-received Roadkill Couture collections of past BFW’s, we sat with bated breath to see the pioneering technical skill she is notorious for.
Having attended all of what BFW had to offer, my conclusion is that exclusivity and inclusivity go hand-in-hand really. Of course the drama of a fashion week, be it Milan or Manchester requires the exclusive factor; the exclusive front row, the champagne after parties. The world is fast becoming so accessible that the want for anything is rapidly diminishing. These days we can order a new pair of shoes online or even chat to a loved one miles away at the click of a button. Life generally is very inclusive, so why not mix it up a bit? It’s that ‘treat them mean keep them keen’ sense. After all, we all want what we can’t have. So let’s celebrate the exclusive attitude that the fashion industry is best known for and appreciate the new vision of Brighton’s inclusive approach. Who knows, the rest of the world may take heed and we’ll find ourselves sitting next to Miss Wintour herself one day. We can dream.
Words – Carmen Jose
Images courtesy BFW