MAXINE GORDON reports on how the city's style jamboree is going from strength to strength and picks out highlights not to miss
THOSE of us with long-ish enough memories may remember how Fashion City York (FCY) burst on the scene back in 2011 promising to put York firmly on the fashion map.
There was a fashion village erected on St Sampson's Square and a stunning catwalk show in the Guildhall.
The event ran over a weekend in April, but the aim was to extent that to a full-blown week. If New York can have a fashion week, why can't her elder sister?
As organisers prepare for this year's event – which will run from April 4-9 – they already have an eye on 2018 when the holy grail will finally be reached and York will have its own fashion week.
This is quite a moment for chief players such as Angela Horner, chair of FCY. "In 2018, York will have its first Fashion City York Fashion Week. We will be announcing the details at the VIP launch of this year's event," she says.
SUCCESS: Fashion City York chairperson Angela Horner
Meanwhile, Angela and other committee members – most of whom are volunteers – are busy putting the finishing touches to this year's programme which promises to be the best to date.
That is largely in part, insists Angela, to the York BID which awarded £15,000 to FCY this year.
"It's all really thanks to the support of the BID because that money has helped us to advertise and produce leaflets."
Planned events are becoming talking points too. Top designer Paul Costelloe is coming to Browns, York, while fashion blogger Caroline Jones, who spent a year living in clothes from charity shops and wrote a book about it, is hosting an afternoon tea at the Grand Hotel.
The FCY fashion show will return too – for the first time since the inaugural event – with a glamorous catwalk show at The Principal hotel, organised by She Loves York.
"There are some really good headline events this year," says Angela. "And it takes us one step closer to York Fashion Week."
Holding a fashion week has been a long-held aim of the committee. "The idea is to eventually have an event that people from outside York will want to visit," says Angela. "Norwich and Bath have their own very successful fashion weeks when hotel occupancy rates go up and footfall rates go up and turnovers in shops go up. They have been doing it for years and it attracts people to come and visit – and that's what we want to do here.
"It's a challenge to bring people into York city centre, with Leeds and out of town shopping centres. York has lots of festivals and attractions to bring people into the city centre – and hopefully this will be one more."
Here are our top ten highlights of Fashion City York 2017:
She Loves York Fashion Show at The Principal York
Friday April 7, 7pm-10pm Tickets: £19, available online from shelovesyork.co.uk
Check out the latest spring looks for men and women at this catwalk show. Leading retailers such as Hobbs, LK Bennett, French Connection and Leia lingerie are among the brands taking part as well as local companies such as couture label Blossom and Belle. Ticket price includes a glass of fizz and a buffet on arrival and a goody bag to take home.
MEET THE BLOGGER: Caroline Jones
Knickers Model's Own at The Grand Hotel & Spa
Saturday, April 8, 2pm-5pm Tickets: £20, available online at: eventbrite.co.uk/e/knickers-models-own-tickets-31098062141
Celebrated blogger and charity fundraiser Caroline Jones, author of Knickers Model’s Own - A Year of Frugal Fashion, will be giving out fashion and style tips and hosting an afternoon tea as well as compering a fashion show featuring clothes from local Cancer Research UK shops.
York Fashion Village, Parliament Street
Friday and Saturday from 10am
This large marquee will host the beating heart of FCY with a range of stalls selling fashion and jewellery and accessories as well as a cafe. Stallholders include York jeweller Jo Bagshaw, Petra Bradley Handbags and fashion from Little Ditsy and Life & Soul and Seasons.
Beauty trends with Space NK upstairs at Bettys
Wednesday April 5, from 6pm
Tickets: £12.95, available from Bettys, York (01904 659142)
Join the Space NK team in Bettys' Belmont Room where they will share their knowledge and demonstrate the season’s latest makeup looks. Masons Gin will do cocktail demos and tasters. Ticket includes a glass of Prosecco and afternoon tea-themed canapés on arrival. (Please note the Belmont Room is situated on the first floor, without lift access.) Space NK will also be open for after-hours shopping where complimentary champagne will be on offer along with a deluxe gift with purchase.
Meet Paul Costelloe at Browns
Friday, April 7, from 11am
The Irish designer, whose most famous client was Diana, Princess of Wales, will be meeting customers and fashion students at the Davygate store.
Millinery event at Browns
Saturday, April 8, noon to 3pm
A unique opportunity to meet designer Elena Lewis (above), of Max & Ellie Millinery and pick up advice on how to select the perfect hat or fascinator for your special occasion outfit.
York Does Vintage, Parliament Street
Sunday April 9, from 11am-4.30pm
Vintage stalls take over the fashion marquee for one day only. Britain Does Vintage, organisers of the well established York Does Vintage at The Merchant Adventurers’ Hall, will be filling the FCY marquee with vintage and retro delights – clothing, jewellery, accessories. Free entry.
Dr Sketchy’s Strike A Post at The Basement, City Screen
Thursday April 6, from 7pm
Dr Sketchy’s are teaming up with Fashion City York to celebrate a century of style at British Vogue with an evening of life drawing, fashion, drinking, and burlesque as Dr Sketchy’s Present: Strike a Pose. Life models will be styled in iconic outfits from the Roaring Twenties to the Swinging Sixties and beyond, as heels got higher and hems shorter. Everyone is welcome and you’ll be provided with all of the art materials you need to start sketching.
Knicker Making and Afternoon Tea at Flax & Twine, Shambles
Sunday, April 9, from 1:30pm-4:30pm
Price: £35, book via the event's page on the FCY website: fashioncityyork.org
Effie Butterworth and Bugweed’s Limited will be running a one-off workshop, teaching you how to make your very own pair of 1940s-inspired knickers, followed by afternoon tea. Price includes expert one-to-one tuition, use of sewing machines, general haberdashery and sandwiches, cakes and scones, all served on tiered cake stands and vintage china. Bring along your own fabric (woven, non stretch) or you can choose from a selection of suitable printed cottons available to purchase on the day. Basic sewing knowledge and ability to use a sewing machine is required.
Children's Costume Party and Fashion Show, Marriott Room at York Explore
Saturday, April 8, from 1pm till 4pm
Join Ingenues at York Library for a costume party and fashion show to remember. Would you like to be a pilot? Or an astronaut? How about a sweet maker, a dancer or a nurse? Come learn about some fantastic people who have done just that. There will be dressing up, activities, experiments, story telling and fashion shows to keep you busy.
This is a free event and you can drop in through the afternoon, however it would be useful if you could pre-book.
To book, visit: eventbrite.co.uk/e/childrens-costume-party-and-fashion-show-tickets-31683796087 For more information, visit fashioncityyork.org
Book in for fashion marquee
THERE are still stalls available on Friday April 7 and Saturday April 8 for businesses who would like to take part in Fashion City York. Organisers would like to attract sellers of fashion and accessories, although jewellery stalls are now sold out. The price is £130 for two days.
To find out more, contact Ellen Davies at email@example.com