Birmingham is taking to the catwalk for style event
Apr 3 2008 Agenda
Alan Chatham, chair of Retail Birmingham explains how city centre retailers have been working together to bring Style in the City to Birmingham.
This weekend will see the first ever Style in the City event taking place right here in Birmingham.
The eyes of fashion lovers and media from all around the UK and Europe will be firmly fixed on the city to see this brand new event come to life.
Hosted by Retail Birmingham and backed by The Birmingham Post, Style in the City will be the biggest retail event ever seen in the city centre, bringing glitz and glamour, big name hosts, top brands, luxury pampering and a weekend packed full of exciting activities to the centre of Birmingham.
Thousands of extra shoppers will pour into the city by train, bus and car to experience a day of VIP treatment.
A star-studded catwalk show in Centenary Square hosted by the fabulous Kelly Osbourne will be one of the main attractions, with local up and coming model Gabriella stepping out, while Trinny & Susannah will be in St. Martin's Square at Bullring giving advice on how to dress for your body shape.
The Mailbox is the official collection point for the exclusive Christopher Kane shopping bag and Pavilions is the place for a spot of pampering.
Harvey Nichols, Selfridges, House of Fraser and many other stores around the city centre are all holding their own events and activities.
We're thrilled to have Kelly Osbourne as the host as she is a big star with genuine local connections, while Trinny and Susannah are sure to attract large crowds.
Designers showcasing their collections include Alexander McQueen, Temperley, Burberry, Dune, Donna Karan, Stella McCartney, Mulberry, Armani Exchange, Chloe, Roberto Cavalli, Emilio Pucci, Tommy Hilfiger, All Saints, Philip Lim, D&G, Christian Louboutin, DKNY Jeans and Adidas.
There will also be 40 carefully selected boutique exhibitors to tempt people with gifts, accessories and fashion must-haves.
All of this plus pampering from MAC, Aveda, Nails Inc, Sk:n and Toni & Guy, makeovers and consultations, and top tips from the Sunday Times Style team, everything is in place to make Style in the City the must-see event for everyone with an interest in fashion, style and beauty.
A huge amount of work goes on behind the scenes to make an event like this a reality.
Hundreds of people have been involved in pulling this event together and will be on the ground every day making sure it runs like clockwork.
From designing individual events, printing tickets, liaising with celebrity hosts, and creating the two main theatres, to running the box office, operating complimentary transport, and styling more than 20 international models, many of whom will be making their debut here in Birmingham, putting on an event of this scale is a real team effort.
Style in the City is an amalgamation of work that will bring one of the biggest ever consumer events into Birmingham city centre.
Retail Birmingham was set up in April last year to improve the trading environment for 1,000 shops in the city centre, providing business support, street operations and marketing activities.
It was Retail Birmingham's ambition to stage an event that would celebrate the fantastic shopping and leisure opportunities that Birmingham has to offer and keep Birmingham firmly on the style map.
Birmingham is ranked as the best shopping destination in the UK outside London and research has shown that women in Birmingham spend more on fashion than in any other city in the country.
Events like these are really important both to the members of Retail Birmingham and the city as a whole, as an opportunity to show off what a great place our city centre is.
When we first discussed the concept with Brand Events we knew straight away that this was a fantastic opportunity for Birmingham to lead the field and host the UK's first Style in the City event. Brand has worked incredibly hard to deliver what promises to be a style extravaganza like never before in the city, and we are sure that it will be a successful and memorable event that will capture the imagination of fashion lovers everywhere.
Marketing Birmingham also became a significant partner in the event and has been working closely with Brand to plan the show.
Marketing Birmingham has an existing relationship with Brand from work on Taste of Birmingham and each of our organisations were able to bring our own expertise and contacts to the table and make sure that all bases were covered so that the city would get the maximum benefit out of staging the event.
It's simple - it's happening in Birmingham first because we wanted the biggest new fashion and style event in the UK to be born, bred and owned by Birmingham before it goes nationwide and into Europe.
At Retail Birmingham our job is to encourage more people to shop in Birmingham and increase awareness of the diverse retail scene in the city.
The very nature of Style in the City lends itself perfectly to achieving this goal as it is not one event located in one place, but a series of activities over three days at various locations in the city.
The aim is that visitors will be encouraged to explore and move around the city centre to see for themselves how much it has to offer and the convenient layout of Birmingham city centre, with 1,000 shops within a 20-minute walk is so ideal for Style in the City.
It's great to see everyone working together on this, with the big shopping centres all doing their bit and many of the independent stores in the city getting involved by running activities in store throughout the weekend.
Disorder on Needless Alley is a boutique with its own label, designed and manufactured in Birmingham, which is heavily involved in the weekend's activities and will be showcasing some of its designs in the catwalk shows.
Joining up the city is an important element of the weekend and extra special touches will all add to the experience: these include free coaches that will be branded up to transport visitors around the city centre, chauffeur driven cars from Jaguar for Platinum Pass holders, and city ambassadors who will be in key locations to point people on foot in the right direction.
There has definitely been a buzz in the city this week as the infrastructure has been put into place to stage the event.
Centenary Square has been transformed with a giant theatre and exhibition area, and flags and posters have helped to build awareness and a sense of excitement about the event.
Style in the City is an event that everyone in the city should be proud of - it is a first and it's happening here in Birmingham.
National exposure because the event is so unique, combined with big name presenters and VIP guests making the city their home for the weekend will mean that everyone is going to want to be a part of it.
Thanks to some fantastic teamwork and the genuine commitment of all involved, I have no doubt that we will deliver a world-class event this weekend that will be the envy of the country.
London may be seen by some to be the traditional home of fashion and style in the UK but fashionistas may be saying something very different after this weekend.
* Style in the City runs from April 3-6. For more information and to book visit www.styleinthecityevent.co.uk or call 0871 231 0838.