St Albans Fashion Week finishes with a stylish flourish

PUBLISHED: 12:59 06 November 2014 | UPDATED: 12:54 07 November 2014

The Oaklands College design students and models on the catwalk

The Oaklands College design students and models on the catwalk


Fashion buffs gathered in the city last week to experience three catwalk shows, industry masterclasses and a sell-out charity swap shop - all part of St Albans Fashion Week (SAFW).

Over 800 guests watched the Cathedral catwalk show on October 31, including Julia Yule, executive fashion and beauty editor of Glamour, and Tom Pellereau, winner of the Apprentice in 2011.

Ellena Ophira, SAFW founder and organiser, said: “We’re so proud of the catwalk shows and to have had the opportunity to work with more than 70 retailers. 
A huge thank you to the 100-plus people behind 
the scenes who made it happen.”

Julia Yule added: “I couldn’t believe how enormous a production the Cathedral catwalk show was. It was phenomenally well put together and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was great to see little known brands alongside the big names and I’ll be seeking them out now I know about them.”

Maria Sodergren, owner of independent vintage boutique Little Viking, saw a big impact on her shop following fashion week: “We launched a year ago and people are still finding out about us, so SAFW is a great way to showcase the shop. There are so many amazing people involved with the event and I’ve made some very good friends – two of the models are even working with me in the shop now.”

Two of the local models were approached by Sophie Charbonneau, the country manager UK for Porsche Design, who invited them to model for the company.

Students involved in the shows also learnt a lot, as volunteer Harriet Clarke from St Albans Girls School explained: “SAFW has given me the confidence to talk to people, which I didn’t have before.”

A number of fashion students from Oaklands College had their designs shown off on the runway, which is the longest indoor catwalk in the UK,

Sarah Easterby, fashion co-ordinator at the Hatfield Road college said: “It was wonderful to see our students strutting their stuff on the catwalk and getting the chance to see what it’s really like to work in this fast-paced industry. Last year’s students worked really hard on their outfits and it made me so proud to see them being worn.”

Bringing the community together to celebrate the city’s lifestyle, fashion and beauty has always been Ellena’s inspiration for SAFW and it’s a celebration she’s looking forward to continuing: “This year’s St Albans Fashion Week has been so much bigger than 2013 and we’re thrilled that even more of the community got behind it and has been involved.”

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I should probably have taken the hint! Walking out into the garden recently an unprecedented flock of thirty or more crows raucously greeted me from the treetops at the bottom of my garden. Cawing and croaking these big, black birds clung clumsily to the top most branches and twigs, jostling and flapping to stay balanced in a constant flurry of feathers. There is always something ominous about crows – they are after all carrion crows, the vultures of the bird world – always watching for scraps and weakness that might mean their next meal.

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