I was lucky enough to grab an invite to the Best of Manchester Fashion Awards the other night and was treated to a glittering ceremony that commemorated the best that Manchester has contributed to the UK Fashion Industry. The event was co-hosted by Manchester Fashion Network and CityCo who were unveiling their new Manchester Heart of Fashion Shopping Guide which features everything the savvy shopper needs to know about Manchester’s various shopping districts.
I found a pew with a view, champagne in hand and two blondes to chat to, namely Olivia of MFN and Sara of SeraLuxe who was with her lovely boyfriend Ben. The awards were presented by CEO of CityCo Vaughan Allen, from the pulpit, and the categories were: Best New Designer, Best Independent Retailer/Designer and Life Time Achievement Award.
The shortlist for the Best New Designer was derived from the graduate talent from the city’s two fashion institutes, the Manchester School of Art at Manchester Metropolitan University and University of Salford. Salford’s Kirsty Payne won the award beating, MMU graduate and Graduate Fashion Week Gold Award winner, Rebecca Thomson to the £2,000 prize.
Best Indie was won by Junk Shop.The boutique, which stocks its own label clothing, is the best selling sustainable fashion brand on Oxfam’s online shopping portal and has collaborated with high street giants, TOPSHOP. Judge Rob Warner, the Design Director for Umbro, said of Junk Shop’s win: “Junk is offering so much to the industry and the city. It’s not just a style orientated concept but embraces so many things that are on the minds and in the hearts of progressive fashion thinkers today. This award is very well deserved.”
The Life Time Achievement award was presented to Gerardine Hemingway, who was behind the famous street style brand Red or Dead. The brand has its origins in Manchester and the famous independent emporium, Afflecks in Manchester’s Northern Quarter. After a successful progression from independent market stalls to being recognized as an international brand, stocked in Macy’s New York City, the business was sold in 1999. Gerardine and her husband, Wayne, now run HemingwayDesign. Gerardine was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award by Peter Saville, Manchester Creative Director and co-founder of Factory Records.
After the do we all went outside to mingle under the marquee and were treated to canapes.