From global designers to rising stars, Body Confidential on our dream catwalk line-up

Manchester Fashion Week will return to the city centre this summer (22 -23 May) in a bid to bolster the city’s rapidly growing fashion credentials. 

Though scandals in previous years have left the fashion festival feeling a little flaky, and it has struggled to become a permanent attraction in the city.

The recent takeover of the event by fashion PR Amanda Moss in 2015 has continually promised to elevate the show to new heights. But what more could be done to bring the catwalks to a national audience?

With a city brimming with fashion talent, we hope there will be a more prominent Manchester contingent on the catwalk. Ahead of the announcement of this year’s line-up, we've imagined up our ultimate list of Manchester-famed headliners we’d wish to see in the show (even if unrealistic, but we can all dream).       

The one to watch: Nabil El-Nayal

If you crave catwalk-making and trend-breaking fashion, then Nabil El-Nayal needs to be on your radar. The Manchester Metropolitan University graduate has recently caught the eye of LVMH, the powerhouse behind super brands Louis Vuitton, Fendi and Christian Dior (to name but a few). Currently studying for a PHD at Manchester Fashion Institute, Nabil was recently named a finalist in the prestigious LVMH Prize for Young Fashion Designers 2017, rising above over 1,200 candidates from 90 different countries. Nabil’s womenswear collection will be showcased at the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris, before it’s worthiness of the crown will be assessed by the 2017 jury – a nerve-racking critique that will see Nabil’s designs passed under the eyes of some of fashion’s finest, including Karl Lagerfeld and Marc Jacobs (yikes). 

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The celebrity favourite: Nadine Merabi

Ask a local celeb what they’re wearing on the red carpet and chances are it’s Merabi. The Manchester-made designer is never far from the blazing lights of celebrity events, having styled the likes of Michelle Keegan-Wright and Catherine Tyldesley. Collections showcase head-to-toe sequins and sexy silhouettes all oozing in effortless elegance – so, it’s easy to see why Merabi is a celebrity favourite. For those with a slightly stricter budget, a scout of #MerabiDolls on Instagram will offer a quick fix of the glitz and glam. 

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Nadine Merabi dresses are a celebrity favourite

The world famous: Matthew Williamson

The biggest name to come out of the Manchester fashion scene; Matthew Williamson. Born and bred here before journeying south to study at the prestigious Central Saint Martin's school of fashion, Williamson’s vivaciously vivid brand has been showcased at New York Fashion Week and lists Sienna Miller, Anna Wintour and Poppy Delevingne as close acquaintances. Bold and bright, the designer has left an enviable mark on the fashion world that many Manchester-made designers could only dream of replicating. 

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We can only dream...

The teen dream: Chanel Joan Elkayam

At just 19, Chanel Joan Elkayam puts our teen years to shame. Whilst many of us spent that awkward time falling out with peers and binge-watching Friends, Chanel has been using those crucial years to make her name in fashion. At 16, she created her first collection. By 17, she was showcasing work at Manchester fashion week. Then at 18 – when many of us were preoccupied with the alcoholic advantages of our new adult status -  Chanel made her mark as the youngest designer at Paris Fashion week (2016). This year the Manchester-born starlet delivered her first LFW show and expressed big ambitions to dress world-famous women. With an already sparkling CV, there’s bound to be no stopping her.

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Designer Chanel Joan Elkayam is just 19

The dress expert: Zeynep Kartal

Following the Vogue Fashion Night Out of 2013, Zeynep Kartal saw her career catapult to fame. The Manchester-made designer, who still holds a stunning showroom on King’s Street, has since showcased designs at fashion weeks across the globe. Lady Gaga, Pixie Lott and Coleen Rooney are just a few of the many celebs that enjoy the brand’s Hollywood glamour and premium fabrics. 

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Manchester-made designer Zeynep Kartal

The fashion of the future: wearable tech

When Cute Circuit debuted their new Little Black Dress at the Intu Trafford Centre earlier this year, fashion tongues were more than wagging. The timeless wardrobe essential first hailed by Coco Chanel in the 1920’s was catapulted into the future, thanks to its fabrication from graphene – a revolutionary fabric that is one million times thinner than a human hair. Carefully crafted with tiny LED lights, the dress responded to the models’ breathing rate and changed colour. The design was one of many Cute Circuit projects that combine fashion with tech, with previous popular designs including a twitter dress worn by Nicol Scherzinger that displayed messages from fans. Though the London-based company is a little further afield, this futuristic fashion would offer an inspiring preview of catwalks to come. 

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Nicole Scherzinger in the 'Twitter dress'

The influencers’ go-to: In the Style

It’s no secret that millennials go mad for social media influencers. But how best to harness the power of these self-made celebs can be tricky for brands to navigate. It’s this social-first strategy and selection of role models that Salford-based retailer In The Style has built their fashion portfolio on. Teaming up with TV stars including Made In Chelsea’s Binky, Geordie Shore’s Charlotte Crosby and TOWIE’s Sam Faiers, the retailer creates genuine collaborations that TV addicts love. And thanks to recent reports of a million-pound investment secured by Director Adam Frisby, the e-tailers success is set to soar. 

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Made In Chelsea’s Binky, Geordie Shore’s Charlotte Crosby and TOWIE’s Sam Faiers wearing In The Style

The jewellery designer: Kiki Minchin

Born out of the swanky suburb of Alderley Edge, Cheshire-based jewellery designer Kim Minchin combines her passion for fine art with everyday accessories to create edgy yet elegant jewellery. Founded in 2013, Kiki Minchin jewellery designs have been worn by the likes of Fearne Cotton, the 1975’s Matt Healy and Irish model Amanda Byram. “It’s really important to me to design from the heart and not from what is on trend that season.” Kim explains. “For me, you should be able to wear classic pieces all year round and for years to come without feeling ‘last season’ or ‘out of date’.”

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Cheshire designer Kim Minchin's jewellery is a celebrity favourite

Find more information about Manchester Fashion Week here