Southsea Fashion Week


( A design by Briar-Rose Kelleher)

This week sees the launch of Southsea Fashion Week. More of a weekend, but jam packed non the less with local talent showing in some innovative venues, including Portsmouth Cathedral. I catch-up with Creative Director Briar-Rose Kelleher.

The concept of a regional fashion week is a bit of a recent phenomena. Tell me how you came to set up SFW.

Firstly, almost every city in the UK has a fashion week, however big or small. Historically, Southsea has aligned itself with Portsmouth and its Naval heritage, it is only in more recent years with the help of Love Albert Road, Southsea Fest and the regular Boutique markets that the profile has been raised and branched in Arts & culture, but not so much into high fashion. I am a Designer myself, I know how hard it can be to produce and showcase a collection on limited funds, cue SFW which is free to show at.

Do you much contact with the other regional fashion weeks or is this an entirely independent idea/project?

It is entirely independent although it was Brighton Fashion Week that gave me the idea originally. Previously, like many, I had only known of LFW until I was asked to show at Brighton and it brought my attention to others more so.

 LFW is a trade show for buyers and press. How will your fashion week compare to this?

I don’t think another UK based fashion week can ever compare to LFW realistically. What we are trying to do is quite different to LFW; for us it will be picking out the designers fresh out of University who we see potential in and trying to help them on their way. Over the next few years, SFW will aim to become a platform for designers to gain press, recognition and hopefully, a step through the door to LFW.

How receptive have you found designers, press and buyers to the idea of presenting at SFW?

For the first year, what we have to push is that it is the first ever fashion week in Portsmouth. It is new and so naturally some will see it as risqué and others, exciting. Designers and the public have been great, it is refreshing when people are genuinely excited and open to new ideas. Local press have been great too, it is now about pushing that word further to the fashion magazines and bloggers for it to really benefit the designers, models and photographers involved.

How many designers do you have showing?

We have 31 designers showing. There are 16 on the Friday at the Ready to Wear & Demi Couture show and 15 on the Saturday at the Haute Couture & Avant-Garde show. We really wanted to cater for all designers styles to create a fluent yet exciting show.

Ones to watch:

Mai Mai – Ami Lowman will be unveiling a new lingerie collection. I’ve seen a sumptuous bra made out of strands of pearls.

Katie Barret –  lauded by Hilary Alexander for her graduate collection.

 Southsea Fashion Week runs from 24th – 25th August. Tickets are from £13.


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