Midlands Fashion designers awards Vs Leeds Fashion Show 2012

On the 19th October, I had the privilege of showcasing my work for my label Dolls of Decadence, simultaneously at two of the best events on the Fashion calendar (my opinion) for a designer at my level:
1) Midlands Fashion Designers awards in Birmingham (MFDA) and
2) Leeds Fashion show (LFS) in Leeds, obviously.

 I didn’t win the in the catergory, I entered ‘Independent designer 2012’  at MFDA -Sad face- decided upon by the weighty judging panel comprising of : Debra Hepburn- founder of  young British designers, Lizzy Gardner- noted Fashion stylist and journalist, Alan Sharman- founder of Alan Sharman model agency and Gavin Douglas- multi awarding fashion designer, from Birmingham, himself.
Didn’t they (MFDA) do well??!
The ‘Independent designer’ award went to fellow designer and friend (who I always manage to have ROFL, everytime we catch up)- Tamara Joseph, with her label ‘Cataylst’.
I didn’t enter the competition at LFS, and was there merely to have my garments sashay down the runway.

Dolls of Decadence A/W12 @ LFS 2012 Image by Lee Jones – Phi-tography lee.jones2@sky.com. Model: Abi Saleem

It’s always an exciting, nerve racking and expensive prospect for me, showcasing my work on a runway.
It means, I get a chance to hear direct from Fashionistas great and small, whether the last fews months of dragging my body through sheer tortue has in any way shape or form been worth it;  the paying of minimal attention myself, frustration, sleep deprivation- the contemplatation of taping open my eyelids, is always considerded when pumped with caffine drinks, coupled with extreme fatigue and the sewing through my own fingers with the sewing machine.
True story, that. So deep the needle went- in my momentarily dizzy spell- I thought I would collapse from shock- alone at the studio at random o’clock in the morning.
But, the big man upstairs loves me and that didn’t happen, hence why I am here writing this blog.
      I swear, if anyone had seen me in the last few months, they would be horrified, if I told them I worked in fashion, I mean tracksuit bottoms, ballet pumps and a fur coat…yes- I really did go out like that. They would be more inclined to thinking I had escaped from a loony bin and only dreamt that I worked in this industry called ‘Fashion’…
Someone one remind me why do I do this again??

Anyway, so in the red corner, we had showcasing pieces from Dolls of Decadence SS13 collection, ‘Finally Exhaled’ at MFDA, represented by myself, Paulinah Eboh-Sampson.
In the blue corner, we had showcasing pieces from Dolls of Decadence AW12, ‘Closet Princess’ at LFS, represented on my behalf by Leeds based stylist Jyoti Matoo of VOIR Styling. (Bowing graciously at her feet- ♥ u girl!)

 I wasn’t actually at the LFS, so you could argue that my analysis is unfair, but you’d be arguing with yourself, cos of this is my opinion, based on the job I am there for- a fashion designer, looking and working on getting maximum exposure for their brand and the results I have seen relating to the latter.


MFDA-With such a fantastic venue for last years MFDA awards, I had high expectations for this years venue.
 On hearing that the event, was due to take place at the Botanical gardens in Birmingham, I thought the location would come out trumps, having previously worked at Botanical Gardens- in my waitressing hay-day, I am very familiar with the set up, and its fantastic lay out.

The venue, although beautiful, did not deliver what the venue used last year. for MFDA had. The first thing, I noticed was the runway was way too short, and didn’t run right all the way to the back of the venue. OK, this was possibly the only problem of the event, but it had a domino effect, that affected other little things, such as the fact that audience members at the back of the venue had difficulty seeing the show.
 I, however, managed to ‘steal’ a seat right near the front to watch the majority of the show. The ‘move-you-lose’ rule was in full affect on this occaison.

This aside, the venue actually looked damn good in the images captured at the event, and its great to see how far Jenny and the team at MFDA have come with this event, to be even able to consider and use the Birmingham Botanical gardens.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Image coutersey Glandore Gallery. No copyright infringements intended


MFDA Venue 2012. Birmingham Botanical garden. Image courtesy of BONAFIDE SUPERNOVA

Leeds Town hall. Image by Lee Hicken

LFS this year, definitely upped its game major style this year! The scene was set at the same venue as last year- Leeds town hall, with similar staging as last years LFS event, which I had attended, I might add- an all white back drop and runway- but what got my two thumbs up and gave LFS my 10/10 is the amazing full size screen that appeared behind the models, as they ripped the runway.
Totally awesome!
I don’t think there was anyway, any audience member could miss the action on the stage or would have been in any doubt, as to which designers collection was on stage at any given time, because the designer/brands name was projected in big lettering on the same screen.

Image by Lee Jones – Phi-tography

And the award for best models, goes to…..(Drum roll) Midlands Fashion Designers awards.
   When you have runway models, like Elena Luzaic- possibly the best runway model, I have had the opportunity to work with- and a strict height and size restriction on the models. Its a definite no brainer!
Don’t get me wrong LFS had some great models too, as you can see from all the images, I have featured with this post, but some of them. Come on! When the ‘model’ is posing with her legs, so wide apart, one might expect she is about to give birth. It doesn’t make for such a great runway image, now does it.

And, can we get over the hands-on-hips-at-end-of-runway pose already?  
Elena Luzaic in Dolls of Decadence SS13. Image by Rahart Ali-Khan
Ouch- that was harsh, even by my standards, but lets not get it twisted, I have had to become this way, purely because of the industry I work in. My work has been looked past, chewed up and spat out simply because of the models I have worked with, so I have a zero tolerance for mini runway “I can wear heels” models or plus size models pretending to be size 0.
A model has the length of a runway or the seconds, its take a potential customer to skim past an image to sell a garment, without ANY vocal interaction. Its a hard job and not everyone can do it! FACT!

Getting and using run way images from group Fashion shows = ADDED HARD WORK! This year has been now exception, I have had to really scour around the internet, for the best images from both events.
 Its always a major problem finding and using GOOD images from any runway shows, I have been involved in, unless I have teamed up with a photographer, who has provided me, directly, with great runway imagery or the event organisers have promised to supply me with images.
Neither organisers, did the promising of images for the designers this year- neither are they obligated to, but I still issuing ‘Nul Points’ here to both. *Humph- Folds arms across chest*.
Silly me, for not being on the ball this time round and organising it myself, for this year.

Dolls of Decadence at LFS 2012. Image by  Lee Jones – Phi-tography lee.jones2@sky.com

Its great that both events now attracts good press for all the designers involved, with bloggers and fashionistas firing out writes up like bullets. Its definitely a sign of the prestige of these events!
I do hope that the ‘Press station’ area is addressed though, by next year’s event- in both the MFDA and LFS camp.
 It would be nice to see a designated spot for photographers and other media crew to set up at the end of the runway, where they can capture good shots.
MFDA saw some photographers, struggling, toppling over- occaisionally- and shaking off cramps as they tried to get some shots at the event. All whilst being shooed out of the way by the annoyed audience members, because they were blocking the view of the show.
LFS saw some photographers capturing unflattering shots under models skirts and some other weird angled pics. So, I’m thinking maybe they didn’t have a set Press station either? I wasn’t there, so I’ll SNM.

If you are a photographer, who was lucky enough to have capitaliased on the ‘move-you-lose’ rule or the ‘first-come-first-serve’ rule to bag a prime location at any of the events. You will probably find, if I have seen it. Its on here, so thankyou!

Charlotte Burton in Dolls of Decadence SS13 at MFDA 2012. Image by Steven Murphy

There you have it. The low down from a designer’s point of view, hopefully not too blatantly rude, but definitely honest.
All the little jibes aside, I must stand up and applaud both the MFDA and LFS team for their outstanding effort in presenting such fabulous events! I hope my write up is not percieved negatively and is just used as an inspiration for upping the levels again next year, as both organisers continuosly do.
Who knows maybe next year, we may see fellow Birmingham-born designer, Osman Yousefzada on the judging panel at MFDA and 3D virtual models at LFS?

The organisation team behind LFS. Image by Emiley Bailey

Dolls of Decadence  AW12 @ LFS. Image courtesy of ‘A FORTE FOR FASHION’
Your girl, signing out. Paulinah (Creative @:Dolls of Decadence) xx
NO COPYRIGHTS INTENDED. I do not owe images used for the purpose of this blog and all parties have been credited for their work.