I have been attending the clothes show for the past 10 years, each year is different from the last but, is different better?
I have very mixed feelings about this years event so I’m going to categorise them in the most important sections and if you have any questions about brands or experiences let me know and I’ll try my best to answer your concerns. The first thing to explain is, I was here on a as part of the press. Meaning I had the tickets to enable me to take photos and possibly review, so the only money that came out of my pocket were travel and food costs for the day, which came in at under £20.
Costs; A typical ticket includes a seat in the fashion theatre which comes in at £26.65 up to £44 for selected seats. You can also opt in to buy a show guide for an additional £5, it includes a list of all the stalls and brands on throughout the week and where all the events are held. It also includes a floor plan and show times.
The fashion theatre
A major part, and perhaps the biggest part of the Clothes Show. It is the heart of the event and is a massive production – As you can see from the picture (above). The crowds of girls that were queuing up to get in were incredible. This was 15 minutes before entrance access. They were waiting up to half an hour before hand to make sure they were in early! Along with the models, there are dancers, singers and very well performed choreography! It really is a unique show and perhaps one of the best I’ve seen in my 10 years of attending the clothes show. My only issue is that it was just that, a show. I felt, as brilliant as the dancers were, and they really stole the show, I just wish there had been more fashion. More options for each brand or more brands taking part in the show. The models were all stunning and I recognised a few from previous years who had the quirky stride to their catwalk. It created such a lovely atmosphere on the stage.
I do have to mention an issue for me, and for a few other people I heard around me in the blogger’s area and whilst leaving was the overtly over-Sexualisation of the men. Understandably, topless male models go down well with a predominantly female audience. The issue was that the audience they were showing off and encouraging to cheer the men, were from 10-16. There were at least 6 different schools in the one sitting I attended during my day. There are 4 shows during the day, that’s a lot of young girls watching the show. I asked in the press office for stats on the target audience and ticket sales are 70%-85% (depending on the day) for 12-16. That’s uncomfortably young to see topless men on stage grind against scantily clad women and have them cheer along with it all.
Far too uncomfortable for my taste.
The rest of the show went down a storm and there were some amazing collections on display. From classic trends for Christmas to the over-styled outfits for the confident and fashion-savvy! If the theatre wasn’t making your day you could always pop over to one of the mini fashion runways. They run throughout most of the day and host clothing and beauty brands along with giveaways and celeb chats.
Plus size issue
There were no plus sized brands in the venue and that’s the issue. Out of 350 there were non that had a M-L that was suitable for a 16+, the standard size in the UK is a size 16 and as someone who works closely with people who want to lose weight and get active. The obvious lack of clothing sizes for the standard and larger lady wasn’t even surprising. I have yet to attend a clothes show that catered for the plus sized. However with more press coverage on plus size in the last few years I had expected to see more from them but, eh. More on that next week.
* I attended with a lifestyle blogger who is plus-sized and tried her best to stay positive but with the constant reminder that that the clothes show didn’t cater for the plus-sized.It left a bitter taste in her mouth and an un-spent wallet in her bag.
Cheap and cheerful
There is nothing wrong with a bargain. For one thing, I’ve been a devoted Primark shopper for the past 10 years. That being said, this year was a mass of small market traders, Chinese manufacturers and cheap imported clothes. Not to say I didn’t treat myself to a £10 dress in one such stall but that’s all I could muster. For the one-time-use clothing it’s really not the best for aspiring fashionistas or the unique dressers. People who want brand names and a personalised style. The clothing was very generic on mass production clothing. As it is most years. Of course, they have the designer section but it was all very….’formal’ meaning not to my taste at all, quite expensive and quite disappointing.
But the biggest disappointment were…The freebies. Each year I go for the freebies. I have absolutely zero shame in saying that.
There is something to be said about a mystery goodie bag. It’s like a present before Christmas but this year was definitely lacking in goodie bag quality and by that I mean there were no freebies. In previous years there were always freebies, whether it be 5 bags or just one. This year there were non at all. There were some reasonable offers on discontinued makeup or the un-sellable coloured makeup. There were no free bags and no good quality goodie bags.
Helen-E Offered 4 for £10 on their makeup and as a reasonably priced brand anyway I thought this was a great offer. I wasn’t so sure on their goodie bags as they were offering a pre-made box worth £20 for 10. No customising. It’s better to grab the bargain of selecting your own pieces. They have a fantastic range of concealers and eyeshadows to browse if you’re at the clothes show over the next few days!
Models Own Was in it’s own bubble this year. Goodie bags and purchases were coming in left right and centre. Every other young girl had one of these bags, they were offering the same deal as a few of the other brands. £10 for a pick and mix of items. or you can buy a £20 bag for £10 I can’t say whether this is a good deal as I didn’t purchase one (I don’t really know the quality) but £10 is great for gifts!
Barry M has always been huge for me.Me and my sisters would come back every year just for the Barry M freebies alone, they would give out around £40-£50 of goodies if you spent £10 but along with that they’d have small goodie bags with one or two things in at the door, for free! Each year they’ve been getting worse, less and less freebies and worse offers. The goodie bag on offer was for £10 and worth £30 worth of products. Ever the sceptic I bought this purely to review what was in the goodie bag. Such a ripp off.
I don’t want to be negative, I love Barry M. I love everything they have, nail polishes, lipsticks and new matt lipstick range but… true to life the goodie bags were just products they wanted to get rid off. The cast offs and for me, it was not worth it at all. Perhaps a fledgeling beauty blogger or youngster who’s looking for a treat but for someone who’s looking for a good makeup purchase barry M’s goodiebag is not for you.
My top brands
I feel most of this guide to the clothes show has been fairly negative. Which I guess I felt on the day, there were a lot of things that just weren’t the same as in previous years. That was also a huge positive too. I initially signed up to the clothes show to raise awareness of fitness fashion and living healthily as someone who follows fashion. This year things had changed…
There were only 10-12 health and activewear brands, from Gym Shark, the amazing Myprotein and of course the smaller brands like Trim. but that felt like a huge number considering previous years had only had a handful. The fact that more had attended meant more young girls were seeing them on the fashion scene. More were thinking of fitness apparel as a ‘must-have’ for 2017 and that’s what I want for everyone I was really impressed with the turnout and small business too.
David and Goliath clearly a big hitter as they’ve been attending for a few years now but eah years the offers get better. This year they were doing £20+ T-shirts for £10 and buy 3 for get one for free. The booth was relatively quiet for the first day so if you’re around make sure you pop in to grab a bargain.
Feel Good Drinks. They were also at the good food show so I’m quite acquainted with them now, they offer a naturally sweet fruit squash and sparkling alternatives. The booth was busy and had several members of the team offering samples to anyone who came near, they were super friendly and answered all of my questions and even gave us a free bag when our arms were full of clutter. Not to mention the actual drinks, they were low sugar and super tasty!
Freya was a big part of what made the clothes show for me. After everything had calmed down me and becky, a friend and fellow blogger who had accompanied me for the day had gone back to the press room to collect our bags. Whilst resting our achy feet we spoke to the R staff and event coordinators, including two women who were in the press room. They were from the lingerie brand.
I would absolutely love to work with this company so I don’t want to give too much away on who they are but let me explain why I fell in love with them. The brand, firstly and foremostly, is beautiful. They have an array of underwear swimwear and active wear and offered us free bra fittings which went so smoothly, it really felt like a weight was lifted from such a heavy day. I am hoping to work with Freya, the underwear brand in future so I will go into much more detail as to my experience on a later date..
It was less of a big farewell and more of a ‘good-bye’ good riddance for me. Perhaps I’m growing up?
It really signified the end of an era and the start of my ‘adulthood’ in a way. After attending for so many years throughout my teens it was the one time of year I could feel mature, I was in new surroundings (which with my anxiety would normally be strained) but at the clothes show I always felt at ease. It gave me a sense of maturity but on coming back this year, like last year. It definitely clarified my worries that I had possibly, out-grown the glitter and crop tops.
Completely jealous of the young girls brandishing their plaits and glitter cheeks. The clothes show will always have a place in my heart and of the young girls who have attented. I imagine it will always be a big-hitter for the young girls and I hope one day I can take my daughters and nieces and carry-on the tradition of cheap makeup and a ‘fun day out’ because that’s what it is at the end of the day. A good day out. It will always remain in my memories as something me and my sisters treated ourselves too and I cannot thank my sisters enough for giving me those experiences. I’m just saddened that it’s come to an end.
So, Good bye Clothes show. Perhaps we’ll meet again one day.
*I attended the event for the purpose of seeing if the clothes show had incorporated any active ranges this year. I’m not sponsored by them, Actel or any other promotional brands at the clothesshow.