Bath fashions a leading role for itself following successful week of events

April 24, 2013

Bath is now firmly on the fashion industry map, organisers of Bath in Fashion have said as they take stock of this year’s event.

Some 150 businesses collaborated to enhance Bath’s status as a fashion capital during Bath in Fashion, which ended last weekend.

The week-long programme included exhibitions, talks, catwalks and workshops as well as street events. 

Chair of Bath in Fashion Sarah Mansfield said: “We were delighted with the response to the programme of events. It is hugely flattering that so many talented individuals from the world of fashion such as Roland Mouret, Julie Verhoeven, David Downton and Liberty London Girl give their time to Bath in Fashion.  When you are asked every day what will be happening next year, you know it is a success. "

Bath in Fashion is a Bath Business Improvement District (BID) initiative and manager Andrew Cooper added: “Following the second-coldest March on record, retailers, and particularly fashion businesses needed as much support as possible to drive footfall and raise awareness of Bath. 

“Bath in Fashion achieved this through a superb programme of events, talks, exhibitions and street activity. Retailers have already reported an uplift in sales by participating in the street events and in store promotions. As Bath in Fashion has burgeoned with the strong base of BID funding, businesses can now see the benefits of a model that allows for them to engage and develop their own business.  What the Bath BID has demonstrated through Bath in Fashion is the strength of working collectively as a city for mutual benefit.  Without the sponsors, funding of the Bath BID coupled with the enthusiasm and in kind support of businesses in Bath, events like this would not happen, and in the current competitive and challenging economic climate, being complacent is not an option.”

With 30 events to manage and fill, a strong partnership with Bath Tourism Plus is essential and its chief executive Nick Brooks-Sykes said: “Bath in Fashion is a magnificent showcase for the city which is truly ‘on brand’. Through the campaign activity, Bath is presented as stylish, elegant, inventive and fashionable – attributes that have held true of the city for centuries. The partnership of Bath Tourism Plus and Bath BID enables us to promote the Bath in Fashion message to a worldwide audience in a way which is highly cost effective and which has massive impact, securing media coverage around the world and positioning the city as a premium, must visit destination. The team behind Bath in Fashion work tirelessly to create an event which is widely respected and which aims to deliver real commercial benefit.”

Bath in Fashion attracted unprecedented media coverage this year with the most successful media website, the Mail Online headline London, Paris, Milan and Bath! – Roland Mouret and, er, Candy Kittens help put the city of the fashion map.

The Norman Parkinson Exhibition curated by Roland Mouret staged in collaboration with the Norman Parkinson Archive has attracted global attention featured on; Italian, German and Brazilian Vogue and many more. A raft of top fashion media and commentators were in Bath during the week including Susannah Frankel, Style Director of Grazia in conversation with Roland Mouret and Susie Lau of Style Bubble as well as David Downton who is known for drawing the world’s most beautiful women for magazines like Vanity Fair. 

Some 30,000 a day people read what 26-year-old Susie Lau thinks about clothes. Her Fashionable Bath blog generated responses like “seems like Bath is the only thing I want to do”. Susie has 200,000 followers on twitter and tweeted “brilliant showcase of Liz Cox bags – factory visit next on wish list” about the pop-up manufacturing display by Liz Cox and British Bag Makers in Milsom Place.

The designer one-of-a-kind bags from the factory pop up showcase are now being auctioned online for the RUH Cancer Care campaign (

Liberty London Girl, another top fashion blogger, was in Bath to give a talk and tweeted about her visit to her 80,000 followers. 

The PR campaign conducted by Hancock Communications included coverage on ITV and BBC Points West as well as extensive local and regional print and digital coverage.  Supermodel Jade Parfitt made heads turn when she walked through the city. She tweeted “I’m getting ready to grill David Downton while he draws me at Bath in Fashion” while AOFM worked on her make-up and Zak from Artizan styled her hair before the sell-out Drawing Masterclass at the Bath Spa Hotel.

John Walford worked his magic producing four stunning catwalk events with 47 Bath retailers showing off their spring summer collections in the Assembly Rooms.  Mallory once again sponsored the designer catwalk show and Geraldine Sanglier of Prey said: “the fashion show was fantastic, really professional”.  Top stylist Rebekah Roy selected outfits from each of the stores involved as well as a stunning black dress collection designed by students from Bath Spa University. The FROW included celebrity Jamie Laing from Made in Chelsea who was supporting his pop up Candy Kittens store in Milsom Place.

Nearly 100 retailers also took the opportunity to place their promotions in a special edition Bath in Fashion in-store promotions booklet which supplemented the on street activity at weekends.

Tania Tilbury Manager of Gap said: “We had a real uplift in sales, especially on the Thursday night where we took over £1,000 extra. We really felt we benefitted from being involved – well done Bath BID.”

Flash mobs including 100 Dorothy Colburne dancers in branded Bath in Fashion t-shirts built the energy and excitement SouthGate and contributed to the street style fashion vibe.

Bath in Fashion 2013 ran a successful social media campaign orchestrated by Amy Hart of Thrings, an enthusiastic supporter of Bath in Fashion. Bath in Fashion now has 1,000 fans of Facebook triple the amount for 2012, plus 2821 followers on Twitter, double the amount in the previous year. The Bath in Fashion You Tube Channel attracted 4,000 views. New for 2013, the South West Bloggers competition attracted more than 50 entries and the winner Lorna Burford of Raindrop of Sapphire won a visit to Thermae Bath Spa. Other competitions to win a visit to the city attracted more than 15 000 entries.

Up-and-coming talent was celebrated with Eton Design’s competition to design a dress for the red carpet using furnishing fabrics. The winner Gracie Payne of the Royal High School was selected from a short list by interiors expert Nina Campbell. Head of Fashion at Bath Spa University, Louise Pickles chaired an animated panel of stars from every facet of the world of fashion at Fashion Your Future sponsored by Bath Spa University at Komedia which played to a packed audience of 200 young people.

A new Let’s Do Lunch slot had authors giving talks about Diana Vreeland and Amanda Mackenzie Stuart at the Abbey Hotel with lunch in the Allium restaurant as well as a jewellery presentation by Jo Stroud of Fabulous at Hall & Woodhouse.

Talks by Sir Roy Strong and Julie Verhoeven at the Holburne Museum sold out fast and Kaffe Fassett at Topping and Company was also popular. Julie Verhoeven was in Bath to speak about her installation sponsored by Bath Spa University, Ladies Let Rip which Bath in Fashion brought to the city. She was also commissioned to create the striking imagery used for the festival publicity this year.  Bath in Fashion on film at the Little Theatre Cinema was a big hit with local Oscar-winner Peter Swords King, hair and make-up designer introducing the Hobbit and Bath-based lighting designer Patrick Woodruffe describing what it was like to work on This Is It with Michael Jackson during the last weeks of Jackson’s life. 

The King of Pop featured again with costume designer Michael Bush flying from Los Angeles to give a talk on designing Michael Jackson’s wardrobe for 25 years.

Bath in Fashion is supported by many businesses across the city as well as Bath & North East Somerset Council and Bath Tourism Plus and partners Milsom Place, Thrings, Bath Spa University and Hancock Communications.

Bath Business News was delighted to have been a media supporter of Bath in Fashion for the second year running.


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