for Manchester Arndale

People watching. If it was an Olympic sport, I’d be a safe bet for Gold. One of my favourite things to do (you know, when I’ve not got a to do list as long as my arm) is to find a comfortable spot in a cafe or restaurant and to just watch the world, and all its inhabitants, stroll by.

So, when Manchester Arndale set me the task of wandering about the Mall looking for fashionable shoppers to stop, snap and chat to, I was on board in a heart beat.

You can find my latest string of articles for Manchester Arndale’s website at the I Love MA section of their site here and a little more about me in their Guest Blogger section here!


Shaanti: University of Manchester students for The Prince’s Trust

Fashion has always loved charity but it isn’t often that you see charity loving fashion back.

Well, that was until Shaanti, a collective of students from the University of Manchester (Big up UM!), who have joined forced with comedian Doc Brown and designers Bethan Buss and Sophie Cull-Candy to create three limited edition t-shirts, on sale for just 24 hours to benefit The Prince Trust. The initiative hopes to raise as much money as possible for the charity in just 24 hours!

The tees, kindly supplied by Next, feature graphic designs on the front, each inspired by India, and so make for the perfect SS13 buy for wearing on Indian summer eves. Bliss.

Doc Martin, a former beneficiary of The Prince’s Trust, said: “when I first started out as a rapper, as part of an initiative for disadvantaged young artists, The Prince’s Trust gave me the opportunity to perform at Earls Court on the same bill as Jay Z and Will Smith. It was the first time I remember thinking, ‘anything is possible’.”

You can buy the t-shirts for 24 hours only on the 23rd of April 2013 from here

Follow the cause on Twitter here


#FlashMobFashion Manchester Arndale Flash Mob Event

Forget #FNO (for now) Manchester Arndale proved they were king of the Mancunian High Street this weekend with an incredible event that brought fashion to life, literally.

Over three days, from Friday 12th April, flash mob-style dance productions are taking place throughout the Mall with dancers wearing the latest from selected stores. The stores then host happy hour discounts, for the hour following the show, with 25 lucky audience members being given the chance to pull a £50 voucher out of the hat in-store too! (I won the American Apparel one, post coming soon with my cheeky purchases!)

As well at these shows, beauty demonstrations from The Fragrance Shop, Body Shop, Bumble & Bumble, Boots No. 7, LUSH and even Hotel Chocolate’s new beauty range, were taking place in Halle Square. Simply Be and Evans staged a +size style consultation pop-up at Winter Garden and there was a revolving vinyl record stage in Exchange Court (which I kinda wanted.)

Having ma hair did at Bumble & Bumble

What I learnt today:

  • Bumble and Bumble hair products are bloody amazing and are one of the most-used in session styling.
  • Hotel Chocolate has a beauty range, with chocolate in it. I know. 
  • The Fragrance Shop staff REALLY know their fragrances, par example the time of year (and even of the day) that one picks their Lavender, can determine the kind of scent it will produce when used in fragrances.
  • Simply Be charge the same for a dress whether it’s a size 12 or a size 32, “despite the fact that a 32 has considerably more fabric.” I didn’t say it girls!
  • Oasis has a bloody lovely peach ladies blazer.

American Apparel Flash Mob, Halle Square, Manchester Arndale

Get your fashionable bottoms down to Manchester Arndale tomorrow, Sunday 14th April, to catch the last day of incredible discounts, music, dancing, fashion, beauty and more.


#FNOMCR Ideas for Fashion’s Night Out Manchester 2013

Oosh, what I’d give to be part of the production team on an event like British Vogue’s Fashion’s Night Out Manchester. Can you imagine. The white board at the end of the meeting room would read: “how to throw a crackin’ party,” and the people would be just throwing fabulous ideas like “lots of champagne,” and “more champagne,” around the room.

Well, it might be a little more complicated than that. Nevertheless, I’ve thought up some ideas, all on my own, which I thought would be nice to see at the event in October, y’know, if budgets were sky high and the event was actually on for a month… What d’ya think?

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Air & Space Warehose, MOSI, Manchester

1) Fashion Show @ Museum of Science and Industry’s Air & Space Warehouse, Castlefield

with wind-machine and lots of shearling-lined Muubaa jackets. Goggles optional. Event assistants in vintage air steward uniforms, compulsory. 

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Indoor Christmas Market at Spinningfields, Manchester

2) Indoor Fashion Market @ Exchange Square

with low-cost but premium-looking stalls for local independent boutiques and designers, to help them get in on the action. Think glass cubes, not windy gazebos.

3) Live-Tweet Screen @ The Corn Exchange Big Screen, Exchange Square

to broadcast tweets and social posts from attendees, that carry the hash-tag #FNOMCR (and so I can totes block it up with my incessant tweeting!)

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Character Talk at Quarry Bank Mill, Styal, Cheshire

4) Quarry Bank Mill/MOSI exhibition and/or talk, Manchester Cathedral

to promote the importance of Manchester’s historic contribution to fashion and textiles and the importance of re-establishing British industry and British-made-fashion.

5) Catwalk Conveyor Belt, Exchange Square

with a catwalk hosting models from participant stores, where attendees can buy direct from the catwalk, at ‘shop the show’ stalls.

6) VIP area on-board Concorde, Exchange Square

so we’d need to fly the supersonic plane from Manchester Airport to the city centre, and land it, but wouldn’t it be a fabulous events space?

 Henry Holland, DJing at Selfridges Manchester Trafford

7) Battle of the DJs between Henry Holland and Nick Grimshaw, Selfridges

both northern monkeys, both up for a laugh and both lovely guys!

8) Something with a judging panel

so I can achieve my dream to be Cheryl Cole-like regional sweetheart Judge, please.

9) A legacy

so local businesses know how to get together and stage similar events, Marketing Manchester and Manchester City Council needs to ensure it takes the opportunity to meet retailers, talk about their needs and build on what will undoubtedly be a successful promotional event. Think what Altrincham did with the Portas Pilot, the legacy was in their ability to come together and work together, the £100k hasn’t even been spent and they’ve turned the town around themselves!

10) Some of those Manchester Eggs. If you haven’t tried one, you’re missing out.

What would you like to see in October?


Slipping off the Catwalk: Manchester Fashion Week 2013 Postponed

Whilst Manchester still basks at the news that British Vogue will choose the city to host this year’s Fashion’s Night Out event, there comes news of an embarrassing failure that needn’t have scarred Manchester’s reputation as a frontrunner in retail and fashion business.

If you’ve not already read by now, Manchester Fashion Week 2013, has been “postponed” when, after a succession of financial and logistical failings this year, the National Football Museum née Urbis building, pulled out as the venue, just three weeks before the event. 

The problems stem from last year’s event, which was far from a resounding success, with half-empty show spaces, a peculiar set-up and general air of winging it about the entire production. However, the extent of the problems with last year’s event only became public knowledge a few weeks ago when the Manchester Evening News reported debts outstanding of around £20,000.

It became apparent that MCR FW’s Director, Jonathan Sassen, had gone about organising 2013’s event, without settling the bills from his inaugural show, thus incurring three CCJs against his company’s name in the process.

Not only that, but instead of planning an event with reduced overheads and living in hope that profits incurred in 2013 would also help settle outstanding bills from 2012, MCR FW sought to fill a 5 storey building with exhibitions, shows, seminars and live music and up to 150 people p/show, with numerous shows scheduled throughout the day, for an entire week.

The soap-opera that is the MCR FW road to failure is one thing but the fact that, simply because of the name of this event, the city of Manchester and the people who work in the region’s fashion and retail business are tarred with the same incompetent brush. This is a point both I and numerous other interested parties have stated from the very beginning of MCR FW, you can read more about my concerns with MCR FW in my blog post following the 2012 event, here.

Whilst writing this post an announcement by MCR FW has been published indicating that they will continue with the event, at a different time and place. Let’s see how this one plays out…

The Road to 2013

July 2012, MCR FW announces dates for 2013 event

October 2012, Rococo PR win regional PR contract for MCR FW

October 2012, Democracy PR win national PR contact for MCR FW

December 2012, Democracy PR unexpectedly pulls out as national PR, leaving Rococo to head up both campaigns

January 2013, MCR FW appoints Kirsty Attwood as Head of Fashion

MCR FW seeks advice from regional frontrunners in advertising, journalism and fashion retail on the direction for the 2013 event. 

MCR FW appoints brand Ambassadors from regional fashion businesses

March 2013, MCR FW announces National Football Museum as venue

March 2013, MCR FW announces part of schedule for 2013 event

April 2013, National Football Museum pulls out as venue
April 2013, headline sponsor issue release stating the event has been “postponed,” due to “venue issues”

April 2013, Event “post-poned”

April 2013, MCR FW release statement indicating the event will continue


#FNOMCR Fashon’s Night Out comes to Manchester 2013

Well, was it an early April Fool or are British Vogue strutting those heels northward to fair old Manchester?

Selfridges Manchester Exchange Square confirmed participant.

It was reported this weekend, after much speculation and rumour, that British Vogue will be staging the 2013 incarnation of Vogue’s Fashion’s Night Out in Manchester this October.  


London has remained the only official representative of the shopping event in the UK since its launch in 2009. However, not for long, Manchester takes over the show this AW season with Selfridges and Harvey Nichols on-board and events planned to focus around the Exchange Square area of the city centre. Mind you, this leaves me thinking… what about all the other #FNOMCR events?

Harvey Nichols Manchester, confirmed participant.

I’ve covered Fashion’s Night Out in Manchester for years, admittedly, I was probably the only one who knew it was Fashion’s Night Out, but our fair city has always put on a show, however half-arsed. We should remember that whilst welcoming British Vogue (or, their Marketing dept.) into Manchester is a good thing: we know how to throw a party like the best of ’em, and this is about Manchester’s contribution to retail and fashion as a whole, not London-on-tour.

I can’t wait to see what’s in-store (literally)