Fashion Weeks are loved by many and loathed by some. Let the naysayers yap on about how frivolous and irrelevant it all is, but there’s no denying the influence these shows have on the way we shape our personal style, whether we like to admit it or not. But if you’re someone with an interest in fashion, Fashion Weeks can almost be alienating – how do shows in London, Paris, Milan and New York speak to your experience if you don’t live in any of those cities? Well, the good folks at creative agency Hebe Media in Leeds are putting regional fashion at the forefront this week with the first ever Leeds Digital Fashion Week.
I know and like the Hebe peeps a lot. Their creativity and energy is really bringing something great to the Leeds scene and this latest project is no exception. One of the frustrating things in the UK is that the fashion industry is primarily based in London and that’s where all the focus lies, but there are all these great things happening in other regions of the country that never get a look in. It is just assumed that if you’re into fashion or design you should move to London to up your chances of being successful in the field.
What Hebe are doing is essentially creating the industry they want to work in within Leeds. They’re looking at how they can focus on and build the talent and scene in Leeds so that the players in the city don’t feel as though they have to move away. This may all be very hypocritical coming from me, being that I am one of the people who moved away from Leeds, chasing my dream down to the Big Smoke, but I am and always will be a huge supporter of the scene in Leeds.
Leeds Digital Fashion Week will connect you to this wonderful scene in Leeds by telling the story of the city’s fashion culture through videos, blogs, photo shoots, podcasts, interviews etc, all hosted on the LOL! Leeds Online site. It’ll highlight designers, brands, retailers, up and coming players and look at the history of fashion in the area and brands that started there, such as M&S and Arcadia. It’ll speak to people who helped shape the scene from the 1950s onwards and identify the key trend setters and influencers set to move the scene forward in the future.
I’m exceptionally excited about this project. As a Yorkshire lass living in London, I find I always cheer louder for people from my hometown who make it. Why? Because I know just how hard it is to do so in a place that doesn’t necessarily have all the resources you need available to you. Most of those people will most likely, at some point, have relocated to London or somewhere else that could propel their career forward. No disrespect to natives of London, but I feel that’s one thing that isn’t understood – the unbelievable opportunity that lies right under your nose. Especially when it comes to fashion, if you’re outside the capital, you most likely have to work a little harder for it.
I hope Leeds Digital Fashion Week will spur other cities to start something similar. I’d love to see more regional design in the spotlight, other cities embracing and building their own scene so there’s not so much dependence on the bigger cities.
So, be sure to keep an eye on #LDFW this week for some very exciting talent coming out of the area.
So you feel your city could benefit from such a project?