Monday 21 December 2015
Solent Storms Clothes Show Live 2015
Students had the chance to experience fashion at its finest as they represented Solent at this year’s Clothes Show Live, held at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham earlier this month.
Re:So store, the University’s award-winning student-led enterprise, was showcased for the first time at the event. Lisa Mann, lecturer and founder of Re:So, and her team of students ran the popular stall, which was one of three-hundred-and-fifty pop up fashion and beauty shops at the event.
The annual show celebrates all strands of fashion from boutiques and brands, to trends and catwalks, giving our students a fantastic opportunity to see collections from independent designers and network with big names in the fashion industry.
We catch up with Lisa to find out how the students got on at this prestigious event and why she feels it’s important for them to gain real-life work experience.
This is a huge event for the fashion industry. What were your highlights?
Getting the student and graduate stock seen by thousands of Clothes Show Live visitors; raising the profile of Re:So; selling a high number of products; and telling the Re:So story to lots of people, who found it very inspiring.
We heard you were featured as a panel speaker at the event. What subject matters did you cover?
The popular panel discussions were attended by aspiring young creatives that were interested in gaining a career in the fashion industry. We covered lots of themes such as design, products and planning your career in the fashion industry.
How did the Solent students get on at the show?
They did a wonderful job managing the stand, which was really busy with customers all week. They attracted celebrities to the stand, achieved good sales numbers, and were extremely professional in representing the University.
This is hard work but they all rose to the challenge and were inspired by the experience. Attending the exhibitor’s party gave them a taste of the high life too! The students also played a big part in organising all the stock and reconciling the sales.
Why do you think it is important for students to work at this kind of high-profile events?
They gain a very real-world experience and it gives them a chance to network and try their hand at working as a team in a very busy environment. They also learn how the world of promotional retail works. It has inspired them to work hard for their roles in the industry and has given them a taste of how it feels to be out there representing a brand and networking with industry professionals.
We spoke to final-year students Elisha White, studying BA (Hons) Fashion with PR, and Bethany McMillan, BA (Hons) Make Up and Hair Design, about their highlights, their favourite fashion item spotted during the show and the skills they put into practise at the event.
What did you enjoy most about attending the Clothes Show?
Elisha: I enjoyed the whole experience of being in such an inspirational place with so much going on. Having the opportunity to share our brand and ideas with people in the industry, outside of Southampton, made me feel extremely proud.
Bethany: I completely agree with Elisha that attending the event was a truly inspirational experience. I really enjoyed the creative environment and seeing the latest trends in fashion from amazing designers.
Did you have many people visiting the Re:So stand?
Elisha: We had the chance to talk to almost every customer that came to the stand and we even met Jack Sims, who is an up and coming TV presenter and YouTuber, and Charlotte Crosby from Geordie Shore – both loved our products and had photos taken with us.
Bethany: Absolutely. The stand was amazingly presented and nicely decorated with clear allusions to Re:So being at the heart of a young and creative brand run by students. I had the opportunity to share what Re:So stands for with the large numbers of people who visited us.
What did you learn from the experience?
Elisha: A lot: team work, communication and how to wake up at 6.30am! I also learned that without amazing projects like Re:So, I would never have had the opportunity to take part in something like this and am so grateful to have had the chance to go experience it for myself!
Bethany: Promoting and selling at the show for Re:So gave me confidence with talking face-to-face with the public. Like Elisha, I agree that teamwork was a big part of this experience and finding out which roles suited each of us. I also found that enthusiasm and positive thinking are also important when it comes to staying focused during long hours of hard work.
What was the favourite fashion item that you saw there?
Elisha: I saw a lot of Lycra gowns and body con dresses, most of which were handmade so I think this is definitely something that must be up and coming.
Bethany: It is hard to pick one favourite piece of clothing or a single accessory. In my opinion Religion was my favourite. It is a well-known brand even outside the UK.
Did you see this as an opportunity to network with big names in the fashion industry?
Elisha: It was definitely a good way to network as we got to meet exhibitors and visitors from all over the country, all with different backgrounds, and all of them willing to help each other out!
Bethany: Elisha is right there. The show is a big opportunity to discover emergent designers and new brands. What makes this show special is the fact that big names do not participate which gives greater exposure to new designers and graduates from universities across the UK. The show is a consumer exhibition where consumers have the chance to see new brands and products straight off the high street. All of this makes the show an approachable experience to meet other young professionals and to share my experiences and ideas with others.
Find out more about Re:So
Follow Re:So on Twitter: twitter.com/ResoSouthampton
Like Re:So on Facebook: facebook.com/retailsolent
Follow Re:So on Instagram: instagram.com/resosouthampton
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