This time around Cambridge Style Week occurs the same week as Vogue Fest (so bang on trend!). Nicky Shepard, the event organiser, graciously agreed to answer a few buring questions I had about style, the event and how the fashion industry is changing...
NS: Myself and my two co-founders had thought that because Cambridge has such a great art culture and wonderful boutiques that it needed a fashion week to showcase it. So we made one!
2. What types of businesses are being included this time around?
NS: We have women’s wear, men’s wear, children’s clothes, Lingerie, Swimwear, PJ’s & Loungewear as well as Shoes, Bags, Glasses and jewellery!
3. Any named brands we might recognise?
NS: Modish, Baska, Boudoir Femme, Cuckoo Clothing, Hobbs, LK Bennett, French Connection, John Lewis, Debenhams, Prohibido, Podorak, Russell and Bromley, Rigby and Pellar - and many more!
4. If you could pick one designer or brand that you think will be coming into their own this year that is featured in CSW, who or what would that be?
NS: Asia Prusinowska of PAYSA Wearable Art. She was spotted as a student last year at CSW and off the back of the coverage of her dress was invited to show in Amsterdam. She’s had a whirlwind year, including showing at LFW a few weeks ago, and is ready to show with us in a few weeks. She is definitely one to watch!
5. How would you say that Cambridge Style week compares with the four main fashion weeks?
NS: We seem to be moving towards showcasing new and emerging designers. As well as showing collections from the Cambridge School of Art’s Fashion Design course, we are showing other designers who are new to the UK. Also, many of the boutiques in the city have new to the UK designs, and we are pleased to be showing those as well.
6. Do you think there is room for more Style and Fashion businesses in Cambridge?
NS: Yes, definitely. That is what we are here to do, I’d like to see CSW help to drive the economy in Cambridge to support more style and fashion related businesses. I’d love to see more of the Fashion Design students able to stay in the city and find work in the industry. There is room for some of the big producers to set up here as well.
7. Do you think it is important that each city has its own Fashion/Style week?
NS: I think it is important that Fashion and Style are accessible to ‘regular’ people. (Amen to that I say!) We are a bit different to LFW because we are customer facing, we are about what is immediate in the next season, and what we can buy straight away. That personal and immediate interface with the retailer is really important, and it empowers stylish women to take control of their own look.
8. What word would you say best represents Cambridge Style?
NS: Individuality! You just have to look around the city to know that people will dress the way they want to, but that they also want to look good. That is what CSW is about, helping people to find their personal style.
9. How would you respond to those that say the business of Fashion is elitist?
NS: It has been. I think the fashion industry is going through a big change at the moment. Fashion Bloggers and social media have meant that the industry has to change. Which it is, but slowly. But I also think that in the clothes we wear, there is more than ever a range of prices and many of the high-street shops have a good range of affordable trends.
10. Would you say style is something you can learn or does it need to be something you are born with?
NS: It is definitely something you can learn! I’ve been working with Suzie Rice from Style Heaven to learn to dress in a way that reflects who I really am. I think there are lots of things that Stylists know that if we learned them at school we’d be much happier. I can’t believe the difference it has made to learn a few tips. Style is about reflecting who you are inside. It isn’t about wearing a colour because it is on-trend, it is about knowing what works for you, and putting the trends to work for you! I do believe that if a women feels like she looks good, then she is more likely to go out and change the world!
What a quote to end on! With free wi-fi at the University Arms Hotel (where Style week will be held) and the Tweetwall, which means a live twitter-feed will be available on screens and on the Cambridge Style Week website as well, the event is sure to be a highly exciting time for any attendees.
Look out for my blogs on the weekend shows in a few weeks time, A smorgasbord of style awaits us!