Fashion Fest 2018 a ‘runway’ success and city brand builder

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Derry’s singular celebration of couture, its annual ‘Fashion Fest’, now rivals Belfast Fashion Week in terms of the coverage it receives and was so successful this year Derry City & Strabane District Council couldn’t meet demand.

Kevin O’Connor, Head of Business, at DC&SDC, said the event in the Guildhall last month was sold out well in advance and has now put Derry well and truly back on the map in terms of clothing design and production.

Mr. O’Connor, in a presentation to the Council’s Business and Culture Committee on Friday, explained that ‘Fashion Fest’ 2018 had been very much a victim of its own success it was so popular.

He stated: “The show reached maximum capacity four days before the event, resulting in a demand for tickets that could not be met.

“On this basis the business team will seek to increase capacity for future events.”

Mr. O’Connor told the committee that the event - co-hosted by Stephen Clements (Q Radio) and Dylan Llewellyn (Derry Girls) - was attended by over 350 people.

It was, he advised the committee, a further opportunity to build the Derry brand.

“The focus on digital media and targeting key fashion influencers resulted in greater brand awareness across social media platforms, directly increasing ticket sales.

“The business team proposes that that we continue to engage with relevant ‘Fashion Influencers’ as a way to create brand ambassadors for future ‘Fashion Fest’ events.”

He said this was allowing Derry - with its unrivalled textile heritage - to compete as an equal with Belfast when it came to events of this kind.

“By doing this we are now in a position to compete with online coverage with events such as Belfast Fashion Week,” he stated.

Ratepayers funded this year’s ‘Fashion Fest’ to the tune of £20,000.

A further £2,619.32 was generated in ticket sales and poured back into the event.

‘Fashion Fest’ also raised in excess of £450 for the Mayor’s chosen charity – Foyle Search and Rescue.