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Fashion week lifts Liverpool’s labels

Designers and independent retailers in Liverpool are hoping the hype around the city’s inaugural fashion week, which runs from March 10-16, will boost their sales and profiles.

Liverpool boutique owner and eveningwear designer Sarah Alexander was optimistic that her involvement in the fashion week would boost her label’s reputation. “As a small business you can’t afford to advertise, so events like this are so positive. I’m really happy with the exposure,” she said.

Alexander, who has been designing for 10 years, will present a 20-piece collection of race-day dresses on the catwalk. She said the event was generating a buzz in the city. “We are selling tickets in the store to our regular customers and we are hoping new customers will come along too,” she said.

Patricia Kelly, owner and designer of womenswear label and boutique Begin Couture, said she hoped the event would highlight Liverpool’s designers. “There is not much scope here for local designers to showcase their designs, and it costs a lot for small designers to promote themselves and put on shows, so this is a great opportunity,” she explained.

Throughout the week, five themed catwalk shows featuring local designers, boutiques and high street retailers will be held in bars and nightclubs in the city, alongside a scattering of fashion-oriented social events.

Event co-owner and organiser Danny Ryan said he hoped the privately funded event would raise the profile of Liverpool’s fashion industry. “It could bring in a lot of money and publicity to local boutiques,” he said.

He added that the fashion scene in Liverpool was ripe for such an event, particularly with its footballers’ wives reputation and its role as the European Capital of Culture in 2008.

Ryan said he hoped Liverpool Fashion Week would become a permanent fixture. In 2009 he plans to hold large shows at the city’s 10,000-seat Echo Arena.

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