Essex Fashion Week (EFW) was I really about to admit to my excitement on face book that I was attending this event? I mean it’s not exactly London Fashion Week (LFW) where by the likes of the uber cool Top Shop brigade hang out. No this was without a doubt Essex in all its full glory, mile long hair extensions, 3 inch fake lashes, tan that you could paint on your garden shed and conversation that will undoubtedly proceed ‘alright hun’ and ‘nah really babes’. So why have I spent the last week dragging every item of clothing out from my wardrobe, throwing childish tantrums over what to wear? Maybe it’s because of the fact that over 2000 guests are expected to attend – the majority being women; maybe because I’ll be mingling with celebrities; or maybe it’s because Essex has long been on the map, way before TOWIE as a fun loving, glam county where girls and boys take a huge pride in their appearance. Well whilst now I may live in a uniform of black leggings and a t shirt (it’s an easy choice for a busy mum), I’m a fully bred Essex girl who introduced bling to Brentwood (I really did) and an original member of the white stiletto 80’s ‘Bimbo’ club. Whatever the reason I’m off today to witness the best of Essex fashion and beauty all under one roof – and I can’t wait!
EFW has been running successfully since its first show in 2010 and was originally founded by twins Adam and Simon Ryan, after being approached by current business partners Nicole and Joe Sealey. Such is the success of the show that it attracts one of the biggest audiences nationwide and is now the second largest fashion event after LFW! Sponsors in the past have included big brand names such as Tresor Paris, CIROC, New Look and Boohoo.com and with press such as The Daily Mail, The Sun, OK Magazine and Grazia clearing their diaries in the past for this extravaganza event, it’s easy to see why fashion and beauty houses are eager to showcase their ware!
On the day I headed off to The City Pavilion, Romford – I was rather dubious as the name didn’t seem to match the reputation or grandeur of EFW, however, I couldn’t have been more wrong as I was greeted with enough crystal to outshine a Swarovski shop. As I entered into what can only be described as a strobe light show from the Paparazzi, it was precisely at this point I also felt relief at packing an emergency sparkling necklace! I was greeted with a display to rival a Las Vegas nightclub, as a carnival of stunningly, gorgeous girls dripping in jewels, high heels, huge hair and thick makeup strutted around parading like peacocks and for once my olive skin made me look anaemic.
Any image I’d tried to exude of ‘cool and professional’ flew out the window when I saw all the sparkle and glitz and my inner-magpie came out in full force. Even more embarrassingly, when I spotted a certain celeb and my daughter’s current crush, I took the moment to prove why I’m a beauty editor and not a celebrity reporter - my opening line of ‘do you wear make-up’ left him rather perplexed although in my defence he was rather tanned and had remarkably long lashes. However, there was only one person I wanted to meet and that was Michelle MacGregor, Head of Makeup for EFW who’s CV consists of London and Paris Fashion Week. I managed to grab 5 minutes with her and she told me her aim was to bring some high class fashion to Essex, so this year’s focus was on natural, gleaming skin (sans tan!). Makeup was shimmering, whilst ethereal eyes sparkled in white and silver. Lips were taking the focus in bright shades, Hot Pink by Golden Rose the sponsors for EFW being the favourite. Oakley Academy alongside Chic Management were responsible for the girls flowing, natural locks and intricate braided buns.
Dizzy with excitement I welcomed sitting down and being entertained by the opening act from Holler Watches, who’d bought in an amazing dance troupe (backflips shouldn’t look that easy); this was proceeded by a catwalk of gorgeous models showcasing clothing from Glamkinis a handmade, beach wear brand which made Pacha look understated; delicate, crystal, lace dresses from Lady Muck Couture came alive under the lights; trendy, street wear with an urban vibe from hip new brand NoAgg; classy, high end, dazzling, interchangeable jewellery from Nikki Lissoni and the finale Bondana which quite frankly left me mesmerized (think 50 Shades of sparkling Grey.) Live performances from Amy Mottram captivated the audience, whilst the show finished on a high with an energetic, show clapping performance from Voice star singer Leanne Jarvis. The after-show party was sponsored by Love Juice, but without the obligatory skyscraper heels and being old enough to be most of the guests mum, I wisely called it a night.
So what was my verdict for a first-timer at EFW? Well they’re few things that only my family knew about me (until I wrote this), such as I listen to my daughters Justin Bieber album – when she’s not in the car, I’m not familiar with TV personalities but am on first term names with Peppa and George; and that I’m proud to be from Essex. Today, I met some lovely personalities such as Alice Barlow (ex-Hollyoaks/The Voice), Brentwood’s own 2 Shoes, but the ones who received my biggest round of applause were those who made it happen, the sponsors, Danielle Bigaignon and Holly Marsh both PRs who worked tirelessly to give us an amazing day. EFW has shown the country what we Essexodians do best which is being the epitome of sparkle, vitality and fun, we put the P into Pizazz, the G into Glam and the fizz into that whopping glass of Champagne!
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