FUNKY knits, plaids, fur and leather were all paraded on the catwalk at Northampton’s Royal & Derngate this week as a fashion show previewing autumn trends helped to put Northampton “on the map”.
The event, at the Derngate on Monday, was the finale to Northampton Business Improvement District (BID) Discover Northampton initiative, a three-part campaign aimed at showcasing what Northampton town centre has to offer.
Yvonne Spence, BID director for this campaign, and owner of Voni Blu, said: “Through the campaign we wanted to highlight the breadth and diversity of what is in Northampton.
“Five-hundred-plus businesses came to the first event in the campaign and it was about creating an awareness between businesses about what was in the town, as well as making the public more aware as well.
“We are very lucky to have some fantastic independents and High Street brands and it has given people the opportunity to see the key trends for autumn/winter, from everyone from 16 years old up to 80 years old.
“A big part of the campaign has been to put Northampton on the map and show it is a destination.”
The fashion show featured Northampton independents such as ALQ, The Wardrobe, Bohemian Finds, Bias, Voni Blu and Circus, and High Street chains such as Topshop, Debenhams and Marks & Spencer, with the hair and make-up created by Daniel Granger’s Creative Team.
Prior to the show beginning there was also a chance to speak to business owners as a number of stalls were set up to showcase Northampton businesses.
For Amelia Quiambao, womenswear designer for ALQ, which she set up with her partner Leon Grant earlier this year, the event was an opportunity to let more people know they were out there.
“We started out in March this year so we are still pretty new and we are still trying to get more people to realise we are here.
“Anything that can help to raise your profile is great, and having the chance to show off our collection also helps to raise our profile.”
But it was not just new shops, but some of the oldest shops in town that took hold of the opportunity to raise their profiles.
Richard Roberts, owner of Bonham Shoes in St Giles Street, which has been in the town for more than 150 years, said: “I think the town has changed a lot. A lot of new people have come into the town to live, people move around a lot more these days, and they are not as aware of the old established businesses.
“There are not many shoe shops left in the Northampton, but we are still here flying the flag and want people to know that.”
However it was not only the fashion trade on show, but also restaurant owners, beauticians, food outlets and more.
Simon Job, from St Giles Music, said: “It’s a good opportunity for everyone to come and show what they’ve got. We’ve had a couple of people who didn’t know about us come over.”
Stephen Chown, chairman of BID, said: “This event has really given the people in the town a chance to see what is out there and it is a great opportunity for everyone.”
In the lead-up to the event an artist trail “Discovering the Beauty” gave local artists and photographers the chance to showcase their works in the windows of local businesses.
To find out more about BID visit: www.northamptonbid.co.uk. To see a picture gallery of the event visit: www. northamptonchron.co.uk