With weather like this there's only one thing for it. Get the hell out of London and head for the seaside. With the likes of Tim Walker and Mulberry using Brighton as the backdrop for their delicious recent campaign of English sea-side delights, we're going to be jumping aboard the Brighton Belle to see what Brighton Fashion Week has in store. Oh… that's right… it has us in store. Editor-in-Chief Perry Curties will be giving a talk at the Ready to Wear Show, on fashion photography and setting up a temple like 125.
Regional fashion weeks are springing up everywhere and they are many things… not all of them quite chic. One has to ask if there might be big business here. As for style, a lot depends on the city hosting them, because the personality of a fashion week lies in the culture it's immersed in. Lots of people think of Brighton as the home of the original dirty weekend – Regency style, or the gay capital of Europe, or Sting in Quadrophenia, or the seedy underbelly of Brighton Rock, and all of these sub-cultures have a distinctive style accompanying them. All of them have fathered fashion movements. But what is Brighton now? Is it just another suburb of London? A too-perfect province? Notting-Hill-on-Sea? Is it, as one of our contributors, Sigmund Oakeshott put it quite cattily, "where 20-somethings go to retire"? Or perhaps it's the up-cycling capital, although we've heard barely a peep on that side of things even though Caroline Lucas holds the only Green seat in the UK in Brighton, unlike in London where you get lynched for not wearing re-cycled cotton. What happens to fashion, or any art form, when everything becomes too easy and affluent?
We're going to find out. BFW has attracted some ascending designers such as Tim Rhys-Evans and Edward Finney in recent years and this year will be hosting Charles of London, Masato, So Yeon Park and Jess Eaton amongst others. It seems it's very much a place for up-and-coming designers; a step between the collages and the larger events like Fashion Scout and the big cities, because getting a collection off the ground costs a small fortune, but if you can show in a city with an interesting culture behind it, well that might be the missing link for a lot of youngsters. The big example here is Berlin, but then, what a history it's got to work with.
We're curious to discover what impact the snob-factor might have on regional fashion weeks, and if they might potentially be a viable business. La Pearly gates of the fashion industry, as we all know, are closely guarded by Arch-Angle Snob and Saint Exclusive. Brighton Fashion Week encourages inclusivity… Could that ever be allowed? Would it work? Or does the current system actually just ensure that only cream rises? Stay tuned to find out…