IT'S BEEN a tulmultous few years for Manchester Fashion Week.
My aim is to get rid of the snobbery in fashion
Back in 2013 the show, hailed as the north's answer to London Fashion Week, saw one of its biggest sponsors Boohoo.com back out, while the National Football musuem pulled out as the event's official venue three weeks before the show started - read here.
It appeared to make a valiant return in 2014, with a stylish show at the Hallé St Peters and a complete rebrand, but organisers failed to make it a permanent attraction in the city.
Along the M62, Liverpool has been hosting its fashion week showcase for five years, and this year the organisers have bought the rights to 'manchesterfashionweek.co.uk' and have surreptitiously gone about creating a whole new show.
With its new management team Manchester Fashion Week will return for a three day showcase in The Place aparthotel on Piccadilly's Ducie Street from 26 - 28 May.
"I've been asked to host Manchester Fashion Week for some time but I didn't want to tread on anyone's toes," says Liverpool Fashion Week owner, Amanda Moss. "But since the organisers have given up, I thought why not invest in Manchester Fashion Week.
"We understand the city has suffered a string of setbacks in recent years in delivering this event and we assure you our full attention and the delivery of promises.
"We have no associations with the previous events in Manchester," she adds.
Moss, a journalist and events director, admits that the most she knows about Manchester city centre is that 'it's up the M62', though, she seems passionate about fashion having a presence in the North West.
"When you look at the catwalks in London, the models all look the same; straight faced with no vibrancy," she says. "The North West has its own fashion identity, we're more flamboyant and extravagant. It is wrong that London is the fashion centre for the UK and all the main shows take place down south.
"The north is a hive of talent and I don’t see why Manchester can't take centre stage for fashion week in the future," she adds. "My aim is to get rid of the snobbery in fashion."
Designers to walk the catwalk will come from the UK and beyond, including big high street names such as Jigsaw, Blue Inc. and the Officers Club. There's not a strong Mancunian contingent amongst all the listed designers compared to previous years; independents from the city include Goodwin Smith, Pretty Pink Couture and local based designer Maliha. Still, Moss boasts contributions from Los Angeles-based design talent, as well as Lexie Gregg, girlfriend to Geordie Shaw's Gaz (yes that MTV show with lots of drinking and coitus) who will be bringing her clothing line to the catwalk.
Moss notes that a young fashion prodigy, eleven-year-old Maiya from Ireland, will also be showing her award-winning designs over the three shows.
"Former Miss England, Rachel Christie (Linford Christie's niece) will be making a return back to the runway after having a child to Kelly Brook's ex-fiancé David Mcintosh, so that's exciting." says Moss. We're not sure about that one.
With Manchester Fashion Week currently carrying such a bad reputation, the jury's out on whether this new team can be the saving grace of the brand. Although neighbours, Liverpool and Manchester have distinctly different styles and it will be interesting to see whether a Scouse influence resonates with the Manc fashion crowd.
Moss seems confident.
"There's been so much negativity surrounding Manchester Fashion Week and it seems few are willing to touch it. I'm really passionate about it, and would like for it to become a regular feature in Manchester."
For more information see Manchester Fashion Week's website.
Tickets are £15 - see here
(photo credits: Rezakio - official Liverpool Fashion Week photographer)