Top tips for visiting York fashion week

16 May 2018

Church in York


York may be better known for cathedrals than catwalks but that is not to say this historic city is to be ignored in terms of fashion. Though New York, its North American counterpart may host one of the biggest and most attended fashion weeks in the world, British York has not been put off, and instead, it gathered designers, venues, makeup artists and models to throw their very own fashion event.


At a little over an hour from the city, hotels located in Robin Hoods Bay are ideally located to explore the city and stunning surrounding countryside, while still being able to enjoy the seaside vibes of some of the North Easts famous coastal towns.


So what makes York’s fashion week worth a visit? We spoke to Antonia Houston, one of the designers who talked about her own involvement in the spectacle:


“I launched the week on the first night at Bettys in York which was a huge success. I was also launching my new design label, Antonia Houston Couture. It was a fabulous week with the aim to showcase Yorkshires amazing talent.”


So why should people be flocking to the North East in search of cutting-edge fashion?







With so much stunning landscape and history soaking into the nearby Dales, it is no surprise that the designs that emerge from the designers participating are very different from their urban counterparts.


Yorkshire has long had a history with fabric, prior to the industrial revolution, the cotton industry was thriving in the area. However with the advent of fabric mills, Yorkshire became synonymous with cloth production and though those times have passed, the area still has a successful fabric trade.


One of the designers was part of the driving force to make York’s fashion week a reality and has drawn upon the traditional fabrics of the area such as tweed. These luxe and practical fabrics have been combined with the ideals behind the delicate and dainty cakes at Betty’s, creating a beautiful collection. Antonia Houston was looking at the wool for her designs at a traditional Yorkshire Textile Mill when the inspiration hit:


“I visited them and when they showed me their samples, they made me think of Betty’s cakes – and a plate of macarons! I took the fabric samples into Bettys and coincidentally they all matched their macarons”


“My collection was called Yorkshire Dandy, incorporating luscious silks and Yorkshire tweeds complimenting the cakes and sweets of Bettys.”






Other Fashion weeks are jam-packed affairs with multiple shows jostling for limelight and impact in the press pages and in people’s memories. This means often designs with a wow factor are given centre stage, or those looking to shock and surprise the audience. This also means that some elements that are important to domestic shoppers are left by the wayside. This is not an issue at York’s Fashion Week.


Locality and sustainability in the fashion industry have become more important as people focus on their green credentials relating to every aspect of life as opposed to just food and transport. As the York Fashion Week is all about celebrating local manufacturers, designers and artists, many of them use local products.


One of the businesses featured in York Fashion Week was Knot and Bloom, a company specialising in bespoke vintage accessories and the perfect accompaniment to some of the designs on show. Knot and Bloom describe their designs:


“A love of all things vintage, creative and colourful, Knot & Bloom is a bespoke accessories business specialising in vintage and handmade headdresses, combs, fascinators, hats and hair adornments. Each item has been lovingly restored or created for any occasion from the stylish bride on her wedding day to ladies day at Royal Ascot. Each handmade piece is British made using the most beautiful vintage flowers, fabrics and beading sourced from specialist antique textile suppliers.”







It is not just the designers that are being showcased at the York Fashion Week, rather a whole host of creative industries that have pulled together to make a cohesive event. One of the people capturing the spectacle was Olivia Brabbs, a local photographer who was thrilled to be a part of the first York Fashion Week







This year in 2018 was the first York Fashion week and it has come off with a resounding success, not only bringing local businesses and talent to the fore but also putting York on the map for more than a quaint city.


Off the back of the success of the event, locals, designers, venues and businesses are already busy planning the event for April 2019 and hoping to build on their accomplishments this year. Antonia Houston spoke of the preparations already underway and how nobody involved is sitting on their laurels:


“I am on the steering group for Fashion City York and we aim to make next year’s event even bigger and better with the hope that more venues too will get involved to offer space for designers etc to showcase their collections.”

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