Doncaster Fashion Week



We went to Fashion Week on the 28th of September to review what went down. The event showcased over 20 emerging designers at Doncaster’s High Speed Rail College.

Words: Cara Louise Lawson

Photography: Cara Louise Lawson/Nigel Thompson

‘They say I’m up and coming like I’m f**king in an elevator’ plays out in my head as I enter the National College for High Speed Rail and stand in line for Doncaster’s first Fashion Week event. The reason is twofold; like Ed Sheeran when he penned You Need Me, our town is both realising its capabilities – with a new architecturally slick landmark, and pushing boundaries – merging DJs and performance with fashion.

The events aim is to raise the profile of our town and attract future opportunities for the people of Doncaster. Leah McCullen is the woman behind the scenes, who has brought together 20+ Emerging Fashion Designers from all over the world and over 200 of Doncaster’s Creative Community, alongside local businesses who are giving their time and service to make the event happen. She wants to see the borough become an alternative to London and wants to regenerate Doncaster through design.

Set against the backdrop of a full size High Speed Train the catwalk is an L shape. A purpose built DJ booth borders the said catwalk, accentuated by purple spot lights and the moody evening blues pouring through the window panes. A smoky mist that is metallic to the tongue clings to the sizeable crowd. The tempo is set by House DJ Kurt Grizz.

To the right there is a hive of creation unfolding. Backstage has become the second stage. Models walk around in dizzying directions wearing pieces that demand attention. The makeup artists dab swatches from there outlaid paint boxes onto the back of their hands and then onto the models idyllic faces. A mixed sex group, who are as gorgeous in person as they look, have been selected by Mentor Model Agency for the event. I learn there is method to the mayhem, and watch the darlings be ushered from makeup to the next station to be dressed, and then directed through pre-runway photos – all appear to be buzzing with excitement/or nerves.

The designers are at work lining up their striking garms’ and shoes to allow for quick costume changes. Onlooker’s eyes drink up the wealth of colour and beauty before them (glittered with the odd prosecco). As the designers and the models prepare for the main event – the latter in a very English line, the music heightens.

The first collection to grab my unfaltering attention is Emma Rigbys ‘Eat Your Crusts’. A printed textiles collection aimed at fun and feisty young girls 21-30. I was pulled in by the now fierce models and the unexpected illustrations. The collection uses children’s story book illustrations, contrasting them with the simplicity of menial and boring everyday tasks to create a juxtaposition of the two.

Our home grown Briar McQue also demanded attention with her streetwear collection. The print designer had a strong roll out with some of the most wearable pieces on the catwalk. She believes in sustainable fashion and executes this by working with recycled and organic materials.

Laura Shannon, perhaps this is because I’d been registering for Glastonbury tickets before the show, stole my heart. The fun and playful pieces she showcased took me straight to a festival. The vibrant colours, embellishments, textures and prints make you feel alive and free.

Intervals were occupied by violinist Alexandra, whose composition is as stunning as she is. The noises that come from this woman’s violin could have been sent by angels.

All in all, the fact that such a wondrous display was staged on Doncaster soil, must mean the town is up and coming.


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