Eveningwear fashion designer Nadine Merabi and TV presenter Hayley Hassall attended Digital Fashion Futures, a special event held last week, which showcased Manchester’s next generation of women’s fashion designers, pattern cutters, bio-fabric wearables and the latest integrated technology.

The revival of Manchester’s fashion industry in the digital age and how our lives have become faster and smarter was discussed at the event, which took place at the Second Floor Bar and Brasserie, Harvey Nichols, Manchester.

Digital Fashion Futures forms part of BBC Digital Cities Manchester, a week of activity promoting cross-sector collaboration between creative industry professionals enabling delegates to develop industry-related skills.

Digital Fashion Futures panellists included Mark Leach, head of e-commerce, Missguided; Nadine Merabi, eveningwear fashion designer; Leanne Bayley, digital content editor, Glamour Magazine; and Edward Lawrenson, head of projects, One iota.

The event was hosted by BBC North West Tonight presenter and Social Media Lead, Eno Eruotor, a former fashion designer with a retail and wholesale business which also included concessions with Topshop.

Nadine Merabi, eveningwear fashion designer and panellist, whose elegant designs are adorned by Little Mix, Lilly Ghalichi and Mel B, said: “It was an honour to participate in Digital Fashion Futures and meet emerging fashion industry talent who are set to become household names. It’s also surprising that so many people still don’t realise many globally recognised fashion brands are Manchester born.

“Being a Mancunian who is passionate about fashion and design, I’ve always been really proud of our textile and cultural heritage and am astonished at how the distribution of fashion has changed.

“At Nadine Merabi we have experienced a 70 per cent increase in sales outside of the UK and being a fairly new business, it’s taken us just two years to grow our image organically and that comes from having such a dedicated team.”

Mark Leach, head of e-commerce, Missguided, said: “In 2015, the British Fashion Council estimated that the UK fashion industry was worth £28bn a year, contributed £50bn to the UK economy and employed nearly 900,000 people. Technology is driving a new wave of retailer and as a burgeoning e-commerce hotspot, this has enabled Manchester to lead the online fashion industry and cater for hungry fashion consumers.”

Tim Newns, chief executive officer, MIDAS, Manchester’s inward investment agency, said: “Manchester is an excellent example of how an industrial city can reinvent itself. As the birthplace of the modern computer, Manchester has had a pivotal role as a digital media and creative centre of excellence. eBay reported that Greater Manchester has the largest concentration of small online businesses in the UK. The city’s collaborative spirit has enabled us to create one of Europe’s most connected business environments and reinvigorate our clothing industry.

“Manchester Metropolitan University, The University of Manchester, the University of Salford and other educational establishments in the city offer specialist fashion courses which arm graduates with diverse skills such as design, buying, merchandising, technical, marketing and e-comms. The strength of Manchester’s digital infrastructure means it attracts fast-growth SMEs and Digital Fashion Futures celebrates this and our high-calibre of talent.”


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