St Albans Fashion Week 2016: All you need to know

Kimberly Makina's collection at St Albans Fashion Week (SAFW) 2016 - Photo: Craig Shepheard

Kimberly Makina's collection at St Albans Fashion Week (SAFW) 2016 - Photo: Craig Shepheard

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St Albans Fashion Week (SAFW) finished its fourth year in style with its most successful set of events yet.

Hundreds descended upon the district to marvel at what the St Albans’s style scene has to offer, with the seven days’ worth of events displaying the best of up-and-coming, independent, and well-established brands.

The week began with a record-breaking charity luncheon at Brasserie Blanc, raising an impressive £620 for the Communication and Technology (CAT) fund at Star Scope, a local cerebral palsy charity.

SAFW organisers chose this as their nominated charity, raising £2327.19 over the course of the week, in memory of fashion week photographer Craig Shepheard’s son, Sam.

Sam, who lived with cerebral palsy, died age 19 earlier this year following health complications and the CAT fund was set up in his memory to help fund communication devices.

Kimberly Makina's collection at St Albans Fashion Week (SAFW) 2016 - Photo: Craig ShepheardKimberly Makina's collection at St Albans Fashion Week (SAFW) 2016 - Photo: Craig Shepheard

Jan Shepheard, Sam’s mum and committee secretary of Star Scope, said: “This will add to the existing fundraising total and will be a long lasting legacy to our dear Sam, who communicated best through his famous smile. We hope that more local people with cerebral palsy will now be able to apply to the Sam’s CAT fund for a new device or technological gadget to assist them with in their daily lives.”

Styling sessions at various retailers, including L.K. Bennett and Hobbs, then took place throughout the week with the help of in-store stylists and local experts Kim Miller and Alice Barnes.

Thursday and Friday saw models of all ages, shapes and sizes take to the cathedral to strut their stuff down the longest catwalk in the UK.

The flagship event was a sell-out on both nights and new designers, high street favourites, independents and students all displayed their best looks of the season.

St Albans Fashion Week (SAFW) 2016 - Photo: Craig ShepheardSt Albans Fashion Week (SAFW) 2016 - Photo: Craig Shepheard

A highlight of the Friday (28) night show was new designer Kimberley Makina’s collection. The STAGS alumni said: “It was such an overwhelming feeling to see my collection on the catwalk and such a brilliant experience.

“I was really proud to be a part of the show and to be showing alongside some of my already favourite retailers and boutiques. I worked really hard over five months to put the collection together; from designing, to fabric sourcing, to finally seeing it on the catwalk.

“A huge thank you to St Albans Fashion Week for putting on an amazing and unforgettable show.”

Chloe James, The Dressing Room, French Connection, and Herts Regional College were among the other brands which took part in the catwalk show.

St Albans Fashion Week (SAFW) 2016 - Photo: Craig ShepheardSt Albans Fashion Week (SAFW) 2016 - Photo: Craig Shepheard

Following the cathedral catwalk on Friday, many retailers took part in Super Shopping Saturday, offering in-store perks and discounts on the day.

Sylwia Rekas, French Connection manager, said that the brand had taken part in SAFW every year and saw a spike in sales as a result.

She added: “The day after the cathedral catwalk Show we saw a very busy Saturday and were thrilled to speak with many new customers about our latest collection and be given the chance to educate them about French Connection.

“We are extremely proud of the great community spirit in St Albans and we love that this event gives us the chance to work together with other retailers.”

Ellena Ophira, SAFW director, said that this year’s fashion week was the best yet.

She added: “We had packed mini events all week and our cathedral catwalk finale shows were just spectacular. We had over 600 looks come down the catwalk this year, across both nights, showcasing local talent and style on our high street.

“SAFW would not be possible without the help of our wonderful volunteers, models, retailers and local businesses and we’d like to thank them wholeheartedly- we are forever grateful for everyone’s contribution and support.

“SAFW is a testament to St Albans as a thriving business community; we worked together to showcase what we have to offer and together we made the most wonderful statement of commercial excellence. I could not be more proud.”

SOPHIE CROCKETT

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