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When I was a teenager in Iceland people would throw rocks and shout abuse at me because they thought I was weird. I never got that in London no matter what I wore


Alternative Fashion week

19-23rd April 2010

East London’s major fashion event of April was Alternative Fashion Week, 19th – 23rd April in the Old Spitalfields Traders Market, E1. A line up of over 70 future stars and cutting edge designers of UK fashion showcased original and recycled textiles work in the form of womenswear, menswear, head- wear, workwear, underwear as well as fetish and fantasywear over the course of five days. Catwalk shows started at 1.15pm each day and there was the superb accompani- ment of the contemporary live jazz

band “The Really Tight Corsettes” as the models strutted down the runway. From independent designers to recent graduates, an array of sub- ject matter was the source of inspi- ration, from Nicola Sawyer’s Ring- masters Boutique with its quirky collection inspired by the Victorian Circus to Yeshaswini B.K’s kalei- doscopic colours from India and Gemma Wadsworth’s Soled Out Sportwear inspired by Tokyo train- ers. A personal favourite has got to be Mary Ratcliffe’s pieces which showcased on Wednesday 21st – a collection designed to challenge

both the wearer and the viewer. There was indeed plenty to keep trend spotters and style followers occupied during the five day fes- tival with an array of surrounding market stalls that had an emphasis on environmentally responsible and ethically sourced products. From the edgy to the elegant, one could shop ‘til one dropped for clothes, textiles and accessories - unique, creative new pieces for one’s ward- robe were rife. Alternative Fashion Week really was unlike any other fashion week. Presented by Alternative Arts, a publicly funded arts organisation presenting fashion as an original art form. It was open to the public and free to the designers to participate (the golden ticket for a designer hoping to establish their label), it provided a genuinely eye opening fresh crop of talent, with truly innovative sarto- rial ideas. The energy and atmo- sphere were palpable! Attracting

audienc- es of over 10 , 0 0 0 , with a vi- brant fashion market to boot. The event was a prime example of how imagi- nation and re- sourcefulness, can promote sustainabi li ty and fashion as an industry about innovation and ideas. All the models were new from a modelling course run by Alternative Arts six weeks prior, for those, many from East London, wanting to gain experi- ence, it wasn’t about money or ma- terial success but inspiration and ideology.

Nia Aronoffsky

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