South Coast Fashion Week 2014 – The alternative review

The Alt Entertainer team thought it would be interesting to do things a little different for once and attend a mainstream event, and review its best alternative features and highlights and that’s exactly what we did!

Three days, five journalists and the South Coast Fashion Week – I call that a weekend packed full of fashion, music, fun and frolics!

Very tasty looking shoes from Mimi Bespoke

The South Coast Fashion Week (SCFW) which took place at the Bournemouth International Centre from 9th – 11th May was a long weekend of fashion shows, music, make-up, boutiques and creative minds showcasing their talents.


Dream team: Justin (photographer, reviewer), Michelle (video, Twitter)

Fashion from House of Fraser
Fashion from House of Fraser

Most of my experience with fashion through my younger years, teenage especially, very much revolved around my working class roots, I even had a pair of poppers that went all the way to the top.  I followed this with Dawson Creek/nu metal ensembles until this all changed only a few years ago, when I bought a pair of jeans that fit and a suit that was snug on my shoulders. Naturally I was a little worried about what would present itself as fashion and how my now fitted, comfortable world would react to what is now considered ‘right’.

The show at the BIC aimed to blend quite a few elements together, with a big emphasis in showing off the upcoming talent from the local Bournemouth and Poole College. Strolling in on the Friday gave me the perfect opportunity to get to know the people at the stalls before the rush of the weekend turned everyone into goody bag waving maniacs.

But firstly we sat back and listened as Charley McCauley took to the stage with a few tracks. She had been in support of the mighty Tom Jones on his last tour and her strong yet sumptuous vocals really showed how she fit that bill.  The atmosphere was probably more daunting than what she had been used to, it was quite a strange setting with all the stalls around. You feel the acts today would have to really fight for the crowd’s attention, but this was not a problem for Charley and she carried it off effortlessly.

The first fashion shows of the day were the Bournemouth and Poole Colleges’ ‘Suitably Dressed’ and ‘Shall We Dance’ shows, which gave us a range of classic and cleanly designed work day outfits followed by some elegant yet very attention grabbing evening wear which seemed solely designed to make a big statement.

Heading out into the stalls I was surprised by the lack of mainstream vendors and what attracted the crowd were the more unique, vintage boutiques and the offer of something different. Kaotic Handbag, hidden away in the corner was the gem of the show, it had geek retro fashion and accessories designed perfectly.

Cartoon inspired accessories by Kaotic Handbag
Cartoon inspired accessories by Kaotic Handbag

The whole thing was a colour extravaganza, from its fantastic handmade Marvel dresses to trinkets and necklaces, also handmade, from recyclable materials that also just screamed quality. Colour Me Wellies was a fantastic start-up company which specialised in wellies for children with patterns which could be drawn on. The adult’s version will soon be in big demand, just a simple piece of genius!

Also the lovely people at Heatwave Print took time out for us and talked about the screen printing classes that they run and even invited The Alt Entertainer team along for a session! Again, some of the designs on display made me a bit nervous about what to produce myself. I can draw a Rayman type thing pretty well, but that’s it.

The vintage stalls; Mimi Bespoke and Ooh La La, had character in abundance; both with their clothes and the people in charge.  Mimi Bespoke held the craziest pair of shoes, they were littered with doughnuts and fruit and were just full of colour. Their outfits varied from very articulate 50’s dresses to some with the most intricate and detailed patterns. Ooh La La, which specialises in clothes, make over parties and photo shoots held the most eccentric ladies of the show. They are a bunch of great people, who from the sounds of their excitement at the show will be taking their trade to Ibiza and will do well in the process!

The Ooh La La ladies strike a pose
The Ooh La La ladies strike a pose

Time for music and we had The Exception with two female lead vocalists, initially an accomplished cover of Valerie, and then a few others which proved how solid they were as a band. Stacy Jackson then provided some sass to the stage with her set which included the new single ‘Dance the Night Away’, she would have been pretty pissed at the technical hitch, but overall this lady is making waves with her voice and her work with Snoop Dog giving her a great edge.

Arguably the standout performance from the show was from the student band T’arch and the J’s. Sporting a fantastic afro, the lead that I’m going to call T’arch, had a very charismatic way about him and exuded real confidence. Fresh from the mould of the likes of The Kooks and Razorlight, they had a real unity in the play and their performance was one of any worthy touring act. Plus their cover of Blue Boys ‘Remember Me’ was fantastic!


Dream team: Natasha (photographer, reviewer), Michelle (video, Twitter)

Colour Me Wellies
Colour Me Wellies

I’m not going to lie; I’m a typical girly girl, so of course I was delighted when I was asked to attend the South Coast Fashion Week (SCFW).

As we arrived music was playing, people were busy chatting and there was lots going on. There was so much to absorb, so it was difficult to know where to begin!

Amongst the many stalls was Creative Eastleigh, who were joined by The Point. Creative Eastleigh is a regional hub for creative industries who offer studios, workspaces, and advice for start-up businesses. It’s fantastic for anyone who needs that extra push or inspiration. The Point is also located in Eastleigh and is a venue to host performances, from professional dance and theatre, to comedy and film.

One of their current showcasing projects, The Enliven Fashion Project, works with Eastleigh charity shops to ‘up-cycle’ donated clothing and fabrics, creating entirely new garments! I absolutely love the idea of turning something that was once loved to something unique and wearable. I’m constantly doing this with my own clothing. As they say ‘one man’s rubbish is another man’s treasure’.

One of the male models on the catwalk
One of the male models on the catwalk

I had a lovely make over done by a nice lady from Body Shop. She transformed my everyday natural look into a vintage glam look; red lipstick to match my nails and a slight blush to contrast with my pale, ivory skin. Body Shop teamed up with Teenage Cancer Trust and were raising money for the charity. They were also auctioning off some beautiful masks and hats that were featured on Strictly Come Dancing; raising money for such a great cause!

Then there was Kaotic Handbag. They create clothing based on the same concept of ‘up-cycling’ too. Being a bit of a geek myself, I was drawn straight away to the brightly coloured dresses that hung from the rails. I took a sneak peek through the dresses; my eyes eagerly noticed the Marvel dresses, as well as Doctor Who, Despicable Me, My Little Pony, and Pokémon. I was in my element. I was ‘forced’ to try on a few dresses, how could I not? They were awesome!

I tried on three of, which I thought were, the best dresses that they had – Despicable me, Pokémon and a Marvel one. They were comfortable, extremely well made and unique. They also had Doctor Who earrings, Marvel Alice bow headbands, Dr Watson moustache wax, and awesome vintage velvet blazers. I wanted to buy it all; I’m partial to a bit of vintage velvet! I even got talked into doing a mini catwalk with my make-up and the dresses by our editor, it was so much fun!

There was plenty of local talent there too; Bournemouth & Poole College were showcasing some of their music students who performed some awesome songs; one band called The Super Tonics were fantastic. Fashion students had their dresses displayed at the front of their stall; and they looked great with their careful and detailed stitching.

Our Fashion Editor gets a quirky make-over
Our Fashion Editor gets a quirky make-over

The atmosphere started to build up, people began pouring in through the doors, and the music got louder. The main attraction, the Graduate Fashion Show Finale, took centre stage, and was ready to begin. I was overwhelmed by the amount of garments in the fashion show; a variety of styles, see-through tops, bold prints with outrageous colours, beautiful pastel outfits plus the highest platform shoes I’ve ever seen. I was highly impressed with what they had produced.

Having made a dress as part of my college course a few years back I understood exactly how difficult it could be, but these guys made it look effortless. I was inspired by the many designs that were showcased, the brilliant and well thought through designs were surely going to be a starting point for many of these third year students from the Arts University Bournemouth, whether they were going to university, or beyond.

To top it all off, the editor and I had great fun getting all temporary-tattooed-up. Jack FM were giving away freebies to promote their radio station. The Breeze, also a radio station, were teamed up with CheekyPix, a portable photo booth available for hire. And as you can imagine we couldn’t resist. Michelle and I got creative with cowboy hats, and a gigantic moustache. This was very awesome, and we even got to keep the photos!

Next was selfie time, I don’t usually like taking selfies, the whole holding your arm out thing, and looking rather silly.  However we were all dressed up in oversized bright green glasses so I thought, why not? It was great fun! Thank you SCFW 2014 for a spectacular weekend.

The Wildflowers


Dream team: Michelle (photographer, reviewer), Tracy (social media), Sophie (video)

We decided to take the last day a bit easier than the rest of the SCFW. I had been at the show the whole weekend after all and my feet were knackered!

Today we headed to the show in the afternoon all refreshed and ready to go. First stop the Aruba stand! As quite a newbie to Dorset, I haven’t really explored too much so the offer of a free discount card was very tempting – how could I say no? Not just did I get a discount card from the stall but I got to trial two of their tasty cocktails in shot glasses. One tasted like banana (my favourite flavour) and the other was a strawberry and vodka mix, it was also delicious!

After a bit more of a wander around I went to speak to the ladies at the Colour Me Wellies stall to see if they had managed to get a whole pair of their kids’ wellies coloured in over the weekend, and they looked pretty jam packed to me!

Another day, another selfie!
Another day, another selfie!

We filmed a few more stalls then went to enjoy some of the entertainment for Bournemouth and Poole College. Two bands really stood out for me, one was a folk band called The Wildflowers. The lead singer had a raspy but soothing voice that was addictive in the sense that I could listen to her sing all day. In between songs she shared some of the inspirations behind their music. They’re one band that I can truly say live up to their name.

The other band that stood out was a rock/metal band called Vigilante with a female lead singer, Lindsay. Although a little shaky to start, her stage presence drew in a large crowd including a woman in the front row who apparently disliked metal, but she still sat through their whole set. Nearing the end of their set Lindsay’s voice warmed up and I really enjoyed their cover of ‘The Kill’ by 30 Seconds to Mars.

Then for the finale of all finales, The House of Fraser Fashion Show and the Graduate Fashion Show. The House of Frasier models were very pleasing on the eye although the clothing wasn’t half as creative as some of the awesome designs to come from the graduates. One thing that was very cute was the children’s fashion, and they strutted their stuff like pros!

All in all the weekend was lots of fun, although I do feel that there could have been a few more stalls. At a Fashion Weekend you want to shop and fill up your whole weekend with things to do! That aside, I would highly recommend checking out next year’s South Coast Fashion Week if you missed out this time around!

Check out more of our photos from the South Coast Fashion Week on our Flickr page.

Words by Justin Parry, Natasha Ward and Michelle Stannard

Photography by Justin Parry, Natasha Ward and Michelle Stannard



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