PLANS for an event to raise the profile of York’s fashion industry have been scaled down after organisers struggled to find sufficient support.

Fashion City York, organised by a collaboration of retailers, has reined in plans for its weekend event in September 10 and 11 due to a lack of sponsorship and interest from retailers.

At the time the September edition of our sister publication Yorkshire Living went to press, plans included a festival brochure, marquee and stage in the city centre, but these have been scrapped and revised plans has been announced.

Despite the setback, organisers say they are still excited about the weekend and hope to encourage more retailers to get involved with the project to keep the momentum going for the following fashion weekend next year.

Russell Norton, chairman of Fashion City York, said: “We have just found that there has not been the demand from the retailers this time around.

“We have got a really loyal group that we are working with. We know we are still a young event so I am not taking it too harshly.

“I was disappointed. I think it’s a shame, but I still feel hopeful and think the project has got legs and I think that after this event we are going to hold a general meeting with all the retailers in York – big businesses to smaller ones.”

Fashion City York was launched last April when a well-attended weekend of events took place, including a Guildhall fashion show featuring collections from many York shops.

The upcoming event will now include “living windows” in shops in York centre on September 10 and a fashion village on September 11 with stalls from independent shops upstairs in Pitcher and Piano from 11am to 4pm and a clothes swap at City Screen from noon to 4pm.

On September 17 from 7.30pm to 10pm there will be a StyleFocus fashion show in the Fountain Café as part of York Food & Drink Festival.

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Fashioning a top-class show

FASHION City York is a concept we hoped would help traders meet the challenge from out-of-town shopping centres such as Monks Cross and the Designer Outlet.

The plans were far-reaching, some even grand, and all designed to attract fashionistas into the city centre.

Sadly, part of the scheme, including a festival brochure, a marquee and stage in the city centre have had to be abandoned.

There will still be “living window” displays in shops and shows in both the Pitcher and Piano and City Screen, as well as a fashion show, as part of York Food & Drink Festival.

But it could have been bigger and better.

It's disappointing that not enough sponsors and retailers have come forward to give this show the support it surely deserves.

However, it’s still not too late to get on board. Organisers say they are still excited about the weekend, and we would encourage all our fashion store owners to get behind the project.

Russell Norton, the chairman of Fashion City York, says he believes it still has potential and will hold a meeting with all of York’s retailers to keep the momentum going for a better supported show next year.

We hope he is successful, because York needs imaginative, inspiring ideas like this to raise the profile not only of its fashion industry, but also of city-centre shopping as a whole.

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