Remember when I promised a post about my wonderful, but terrifying, experiences at The Mall’s ‘Fall for ME!’ fashion and beauty events? Well, after those hectic two weeks, I simply took a little time out from writing. I spent the start of the autumnal evenings snuggled up with a book in my hand, not far from a cup of tea whilst hatching writing plans for new blog posts. I’m adjusting to, what feels like, my new life and figuring it out along the way. Among the changes that I made, I did not think that adding ‘fashion expert’* to my CV would be one of them.
In August, I received an email from a company called McKenna Towsend, the people who handle outreach for The Mall, Blackburn. It outlined their plans for their autumnal fashion events and asked if I would be interested in hosting a fashion workshop and co-presenting a catwalk event. At first, I politely declined thinking they had somehow contacted me by mistake: I was a blogger not a fashion expert. When I received a reply stating they were seeking a blogger for the role, along with the amount of pay, I decided that it was worth overcoming my fears so that I’d be able to make ends meet that month. It’s worth mentioning that I’ll mainly be speaking about the catwalk event because, fortunately, photographs from the event were shared with me.
For the ‘Fall for ME!’ fashion catwalk event, I worked alongside Laura, from Smile at Style, to select outfits based on current trends. Together, we selected over twenty outfits for our given models who were members of the community. Our aim? To prove that fashion is for everyone, regardless of age, size or budget. Here are our models:
Before the event, we were given a spreadsheet featuring model’s names, ages and sizes. Altogether, we had eleven ladies, five gents and five children. Only certain stores had chosen to participate in the event, so we had to select all of our outfits from Primark, River Island, Topshop, Debenhams and Blue Inc. As our models were members of the community, we both agreed that our outfit choices needed to be practical and easy to wear, whilst remaining on budget.
Before the event, we spent around ten hours selecting our outfits, speaking to each store’s manager, building each model’s outfit then labelling it to avoid any confusion, taping the soles of each shoe and of course, writing our scripts ready for the big moment when we’d step on stage and present each outfit. After arriving at 8am, we greeted our models, handed over each of their outfits until midday arrived when we stepped on stage and the show began!
Considering that one of the main requirements of my profession as a teacher is to present a message clearly, speaking to a live audience was the most challenging aspect for me. When I teach, I have a captive audience who are expected to listen carefully, but when presenting to a live audience, it’s their prerogative to tune in and out, occasionally chat and sometimes walk off! As each of the models arrived on the grass catwalk, I had to remember what I wanted to say, where each item of the outfit was from and the price point- not an easy task! Thankfully, the amazing Gemma Hepworth, host for each event (and presenter of That’s Manchester) was on hand to keep everything flowing.
Laura and I chose to feature the trends of geometric, seventies, where the wild things are, ladies that lunch and Victoriana. Here are some of the looks we created…
After the first catwalk event was over, we signed each model’s outfits back in, then one hour later signed them out again ready for the 2pm event. With our nerves almost quashed, the second time around went much better and before we knew it, we’d ran to forty minutes!
At the time, I swore that I’d never put myself forward to do anything so nerve-racking and stressful ever again, but thanks to wonderful upbeat attitude of our fantastic community models, the wise words from the amazing Carly at The Mall, the warm, welcoming personality of our host Gemma and of course, my side-kick, the lovely Laura, I’d definitely, 100% do it again. I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and I believe this was meant to prove to the shy, coy person I once was that you really can do anything if you only try.
*You should know that the term fashion expert was assigned to me as part of the event, not through choice.