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Feb 26

Alternative Fashion Weeks

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Home to the likes of Paul Smith, Vivienne Westwood, Thomas Burberry and Alexander McQueen, England has more than its fair share of fashion talent. It's no wonder then that London Fashion Week is a key calendar highlight for fashion scouts, editors and entertainment hotshots around the world.

But, with icons hailing from every corner of the country - from Surrey villages to deepest Derbyshire - it’s not just England’s capital that breeds serious fashion credentials.  Here are some of the country’s other top fashion celebrations and attractions.

London Fashion Week

As one of the ‘Big Four’ alongside Paris, Milan and New York, London Fashion Week sees the fashion world’s finest descend on Somerset House to strut, pout and pose, eager to make their mark and set the global style agenda.

While this is a trade only event, the capital offers unlimited activities for those in vogue. There are public fashion events such as the  Alternative Fashion Week , a tribute to creativity and independent tailoring and a half-way house between student fashion and mainstream lines. Or the famous  Graduate Fashion Week , where the likes of Stella McCartney and Matthew Williamson first graced their premier works. While in town, grab yourself a distinctive wardrobe piece in  Europe’s busiest shopping street  or marvel at the magnificence of the  master of Couture at Somerset House ’s Valentino exhibition, showing until March.

From May 10th , the Queen’s Gallery will put on display a fantastic collection of elite and luxurious clothing, marking court life of Tudor and Stuart England . In Fine Style: The Art of Tudor and Stuart Fashion  explores the changing tastes in fashionable attire through the royal courts of Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Bath in Fashion

It’s no surprise that such a beautiful city harbours equally style-conscience people. In Georgian Bath, society people knew only too well that fashion was not just what you wore but how you wore it.

This is a legacy which  Bath in Fashion  looks to celebrate in its week-long showcase, with appearances from Hilary Alexandre, Sarah Mowler and Hamish Bowles from American Vogue. Discover how an artist can freeze a fashion icon forever in time or how a photograph can capture a moment in fashion.

And why stop at the show? There are plenty of ways to live fashionable when in Bath. Strut down to the  Fashion Museum  to see  50 fabulous frocks  or  the  Dress of the Year .  Alternatively, check out the  Painted Pomp exhibition  at Holburne House for a blast from styling past. The exhibition explores nine exceptional portraits of Jacobean dress.

The Octagon  too will be staging a  unique exhibition to mark the centenary of the birth one of Britain’s most influential fashion photographers,  Norman Parkinson . View some of the 20th century’s most iconic fashion images, and uncover examples of Parkinson’s less well-known work, some of which has never before been publicly exhibited.

Bath is Fashion  is held 15 – 21 April 2013.

Norwich Fashion Week

Norwich Fashion Week is one of the city’s fastest growing cultural events. The event is supported by a leading cast of nationally recognised independent retailers, high street names and budding industry talent, creating a ‘who’s who’ buzz at the forefront of the fashion scene in East Anglia.

The week is centred around a programme of visually stunning events, to keep all those from edgy to retro in check of what’s hot this season. Head to the  Art’s Centre  for an evening dedicated to Norwich’s favourite brand. Stay in the lanes for  a fashion night out ; an electric fusion of late night shopping, music and road-side entertainment However, if you’re in the mood for a little more skin, check out  Norwich Castle’s grass-root shoot  of dissecting Beauty. This event will focus on street style, body art and using the street as a place of protest.  

If old Hollywood glamour is more your thing, take a trip to the  Old Hollywood Vintage Fair and Show  to immerse yourself in classical fashion, with period make up demonstrations and cat walk shows that reminisce about styles past. It’ll provide you with a chance to pick out your petticoats and polka dots and vie to be the best dressed at the  Puppet Theatre ’s  Best of Vintage Norwich Awards   .

Norwich Fashion Week  will be on 7 – 14 March 2013.

Birmingham International Fashion Week

Inspired by the vibrant fashion weeks of Los Angeles and Rio de Janiero, Birmingham Fashion Week showcases international and local talent, promoting the creative culture of the city. A selection of high profile events showcasing emerging British and international designers, luxurious haute couture, and iconic masterpieces from the world’s leading fashion houses, this premier international fashion week is a big hit with fashion enthusiasts.

But style gurus needn’t wait until the second week of March to get their style fix in Birmingham. The city is home to the iconic and highly popular  Bullring Shopping Centre . Here visitors will find over 160 stores, both designer and high-street, catering for all wallets. Fashion forward, The Bullring housed the first UK Forever21 and currently houses one of the country’s four Selfridges Department stores.

Another notable event in Birmingham’s fashion calendar is  The Clothes Show Live ,  held annually in the NEC. The perfect chance grab some exclusive designer deals and to spot your favourite style icons - past visitors to the Clothes Show Live have include Amy Winehouse, Simon Webbe, Duncan James, Dave Berry, The Saturday’s, Alesha Dixon and Fearne Cotton. Last year’s show was headlined by Gok Wan.

Birmingham Fashion Week  is held 9-10 March 2013.

Manchester Fashion Week

Fashion icons Henry Holland, Sarah Burton, Wayne Hemingway, John Richmond, and Agyness Deyn all have roots in the North West, and  Manchester has long flown the fashion flag up North, from game-changing designers to the inspirational street-style of its residents.

In its first year, Manchester Fashion Week debuted with shows from the luxury English label, Mulberry, as well as established brands such as Brooks Brothers, All Saints and sponsor Missguided. Manchester Fashion Week is one of the country’s most star-studded fashion events outside London, attracting the likes of Calum Best, Cheryl Cole, Caprice and Boy George.

For eager fashionistas in need of a sneak preview of what’s to come, the city will also be hosting a series of  Spring/ Summer Pop-up fashion shows  at the  Trafford Centre   in March. Experts will be bringing on-trend apparel and striking sartorial – plenty to fill your cup - to the backdrop of pumping music.  Dance, music and fabulous clothes will be the order of the day.

Combine style with sport on a visit to  strike a pose in fifty shades of fashion  at the  National Football Museum  which will play host to 30 fashion shows and 15 stylish exhibitions in a five day extravaganza.  Taking a look at everything from  how football kits have changed over the decades to dodgy haircuts and the rise of the WAGs, this exhibition promises to be more than fashion frippery; rather an interesting insight into how the coupling of fashion and the beautiful game has changed popular culture and society.

Manchester Fashion Week  begins on April 22.    

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