Fashions Finest’s wrapped up another exciting SS20 season and received an honorary award as it winded down its 10-year celebration on Saturday the 14th of September 2019 at the Congress Centre, 28 Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3LS.
The September edition kicked off with the “Let’s Talk Fashion Business” celebrity stylist and TV presenter Nicky Hambleton-Jones in an interview with presenter and actress Gayle Thompson. Nicky previously hosted Channel 4‘s ‘10 Years Younger’, the UK’s leading makeover show. Nicky about spoke to Gayle about her career and how she is helping women and men find their perfect style inspiration and feel more confident.
Guest gathered in the foyer browsing the accessories such as Hermosa Sunnies sunglasses, Bags by Made of Carpet. Those after a bit of pampering during the fashion week mayhem enjoyed treatments in the beauty area curtesy of Berkshire Beauty, or Nails by Kia B an US-based international nail artist. Fashions Finest partner, the Fashion Enter Training Academy /Fashion Capital were at hand for designers offering information on their resources for training and further development and manufacturing here in the UK.
The 2:30 pm show kicked off a series of runway shows that included Naoise Jo, Shokushu Boutique, Cabrini Roy, Linda Blissett, Evelina Anglickaite, Red Hesketh followed by Norwegian designer Kepaza, Evelina Anglickaite and Britain’s Top Designer winner (2019) Tuncer Tonun at 4 pm.
The Closing Catwalk Soiree had a surprise opening when Vimmi Dhillon of Fashion For Cause Charity (FFC) was called to the catwalk. Vimmi introduced the audience to her charity Fashion For Cause and how it uses its resources to raise awareness of mental health issues in young people & society by working alongside established charities and directly with schools; to enable and empower young people & society to facilitate open discussion and dialogue around topics which may be sensitive or taboo in their home environment or culture. They use fashion events to highlight issues that impact on self-worth such as body image, abuse, depression, eating disorders and self-harm.
Vimmi then went on to honour the director of Fashions Finest Deborah St Louis with the prestigious “Making a Difference Award”. The award was given for her work in the fashion industry to commend the example Deborah has set with Fashions Finest not only as a viable and sustainable platform for new and emerging designers but also in her commitment of inclusivity, diversity, representation (including models of/with: different cultures, ages, abilities, amputee with down syndrome, plus size, normal size and petit size) being mindful of models physical and emotional wellbeing.
Vimmi Dhillon commented: “We at Fashion For Cause have been following Fashions Finest and its director Deborah St Louis for many years. Whilst many working within in fashion have been slow to respond to necessary changes but quick to jump on fickle trends, Deborah St Louis has led her team with a strong ethical compass and value system that is woven into the fabric of Fashions Finest from the outset in all aspects of her business. She has successfully built it to one of the largest independent showcases and grown the business to include a new market with its launch in Nigeria in 2018, whilst remaining steadfast in her principles”
Deborah said: “I am honoured to be receiving this award. This is a tough industry not just for designers who are building their business but also models. I had a holistic vision when I started this company. I strongly believe through inclusion and diversity we come to understand and appreciate the full spectrum of beauty and alleviate pressures that would negatively impact on self-worth such as body image, abuse, depression, eating disorders and self-harm. The benefit to brands and business is reaching a larger audience, increased profits and a reputation that goes beyond appearing positive to building true human connection and value. Through our approach to this industry, alongside education and supporting designers in the start of their journey, we are hoping to lead by example when it comes to building a sustainable and viable business and utilising inclusivity and diversity as a powerful motor to forge ahead. I am proud to have made it through 10years and I am looking forward to the next decade ahead.”
The floor then opened to the Closing Soirée featuring designers Kepaza, Panna, Marie Sansom, Laura Shannon named as one of Fashion’s rising stars in Drapers’ Graduate Fashion Week 2019), Celine Zara, Shannon Stapely, Rose Brown, Rodeer London, Lingshan Fan, Emma Banister, closing the fashion extravaganza was bridal designer and current Miss Great Britain Finalist April Banbury with her luxury bejewelled fairy tale collection of bridal gowns.
True to its commitment to inclusion, diversity and representation the catwalk featured a variety of ethnicities and sizes as well as amputee model Nancy Harris and Kathleen Humberstone, a model living with down syndrome both via Zebedee Model Management, the American singer and actor Marisha Wallace.
Fashions Finest propelled the careers of Hellavagirl, John Herrera, and Matthew O’Brien and regularly features brands as worn by Paloma Faith, Madonna, Nicki Minaj, and others. The event draws not only the national and international fashion industry but also VIP’s from sport, entertainment, and business.
Image credits: Natasha Henson