Master milliner Paul Stafford encourages local designers to enter ‘pitching competition’ to showcase brands at Pure London

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Paul Stafford – an award-winning luxury hat maker who is based in Derry and has taken the millinery world by storm – is encouraging local designers to enter a new competition to win an opportunity to showcase their brands to thousands of buyers, influencers, retail and trend experts at the UK’s leading fashion tradeshow ‘Pure London’ on February 10-12, 2019.

Eight local designers will be selected to travel to London to showcase their collections as part of Council’s ‘Designer Enterprise Programme’ following a special Dragon’s Den-style ‘pitching’ event on December 14 at the Inner City Trust’s Fashion & Textile Design Centre on Shipquay Street.

Paul, who hails from West Yorkshire, met local girl Selina Horshi at university in Cambridge and they married in 2013.

Since then, the creative couple have gone on to establish ‘The Season Hats’ – an award-winning company dedicated to making exclusive luxury headwear for fashion-savvy women.

Paul specialised in millinery at London’s Royal College of Art – training under hat maker to the Queen, Rachel Trevor-Morgan.

His graduate collection was photographed for Vogue UK, CR Fashion Book and Dazed and Confused.

The Season Hats have also exhibited during London Fashion Week and Paris Fashion Week and have been featured in luxury press across the world, including Vogue Italia, Vogue India, L’Officiel Thailand, Huf Magazine, Schon, OK! and many more.

Paul’s signature fold-down hats are handmade from the highest quality materials at the Fashion Textile & Design Centre on Shipquay Street.

As a successful designer already stocked in Brown Thomas, and boutiques from Milan to Melbourne, Paul says he cannot stress enough the importance of local designers applying for the ‘pitching competition’ with the potential prize of exhibiting their collections at Pure London.

“Designers should always be looking for new opportunities to expand their brand and build awareness.

“Therefore, having the chance to exhibit at Pure London is a brilliant way of getting your brand out there and in front of new customers” he said.

“The winning designers will be in a prime position to sell to – and forge relationships with – independent boutiques, multiples, department stores and online stores.

“Exhibiting at a trade show like Pure London will not only help designers generate new business, new clients and design opportunities, but is also a great opportunity to make new contacts and build relationships with stylists, press and other designers.

“The beauty of exhibiting at a trade show like Pure London is that you also get to investigate the competition, network and spend time with other designers – sharing experiences and expertise.

“I therefore cannot stress enough the importance of local designers applying for the ‘pitching competition’ and benefitting from this chance to exhibit their collections at Pure London – which really can help them to achieve their future goals and objectives.

“I would encourage as many designers as possible from throughout the North West to enter the ‘pitching competition’ and avail of this unique opportunity to engage with the UK fashion industry and build those all-important international connections.”

The deadline for applications to the special ‘pitching’ event is Friday, November 30.

For further information and to apply visit www.fashionanddesignhub.com or contact Deirdre Williams on 07807795889.

For further information on the ‘Designer Enterprise Programme’ contact Danielle McNally Business Officer at Derry City and Strabane District Council on 02871 253 253 or email danielle.mcnally@derrystrabane.com